Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Japan.
This week has been fairly interesting. We met with our investigator Uchida a few times, and he was doing very well! We reviewed the Restoration and Plan of Salvation with him, and he had some great questions and seemed to be enjoying learning about it. However, when we start to progress is when Satan tempts us even more. When we called him on Saturday morning to confirm the appointment that day (he did not answer his phone when we called on Friday night) he was having some difficulties again and had to cancel, and he was not able to come to church this Sunday, either. It is rather unfortunate, but we will wait and see how he is this week. We are hoping and praying that things will turn out well for him!
Matsumi is also doing very well, but he is very forgetful and difficult to set up appointments with. In fact, we had previously planned on meeting with him almost every day this week (since his baptismal date is on the 15th of this month and we will need to meet with him often in order to help him prepare; we even made a baptismal calendar for him and set up with him the days and times this week that he would be able to meet), but unfortunately he forgot each
appointment that we set up with him. He has been very busy lately with volunteer activities and work (at a retirement home, I think). However, he was able to come to the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference this past weekend. Unfortunately, since he decided to reject the ride offered him by a member and instead walk to the stake center and back, he did not get home until around 1:30 in the morning, and therefore was too tired to come to the Sunday session. Oh, well. We will also continue to work patiently with him.
Speaking of patience, lately I have been working on being patient with myself. I feel that I’m fairly patient (at least outwardly) with other people, but lately I have definitely been recognizing my own weaknesses even more. I know that the Lord gives us weaknesses so that we can rely on Him to become stronger. It is oftentimes difficult when we don’t immediately see that strength come, though. Interestingly, I think that as I focus on serving others as a missionary one of the biggest lessons I am learning is how to have more patience with myself. Today I read Jacob 5, and this time as I read it I was struck by two sets of verses. The first is verses 12-13. In verse 12 the Lord of the vineyard tells the servant to watch and take care of one tree, and then in verse 13 He says that he is going to take some branches and plant them elsewhere in the vineyard “it mattereth not unto thee”. The Lord has placed me in this part of the vineyard, and asked me to watch over and take care of this tree. He will take care of the other parts of the vineyard. I do not need to worry about anything other than what I have been given charge over. Then, in verse 15 (and others) it says that “a long time passed away”. Oftentimes in order to see the fruits of our labors (and of the Lord’s labors) it simply takes time – sometimes a long time. We must be patient in order to reap the fruits. However, sometimes – as so happens later on in the chapter – the fruit does not turn out exactly as we had hoped, and we may wonder what else we could have done for the tree to bring forth good fruit. If we continue to be patient and work – oftentimes with even greater effort – then in the end our efforts will not have been in vain. It may be difficult for us to see in the moment of trial what will happen in the end, but as we rely on the Lord, work with Him, and do exactly as He says, it will all work out.
On Sunday, even though neither Matsumi nor Uchida came to church for stake conference, we had two other investigators decide that they wanted to come! For one of them – Yoshinaga – it was her first time coming to an LDS service, and for the other – Mitsuta – it was his second time, his first being a month or two ago. They both said that they liked it. Yoshinaga said that it did not feel like her first time, that she felt like she had been there before.
I know that this is the work of our Savior. It is oftentimes difficult, but in the end it is always worth it to be working for the Savior!
I hope you all have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!
p.s. Oh, I suppose the news that I hinted at last week is that we received iPads.
random photo time:
Elder Yanagida and me
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