Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am
doing quite well here in 日本下関 (Shimonoseki, Japan)!
As usual, this week has been quite wonderful! We met with Miyamura
twice, in which we taught about tithing, fasting, chastity, and the
Word of Wisdom. She had already learned about fasting and fast
offerings the previous Sunday, during which she had indicated that she
wanted to give offerings even before being baptized, so she had no
issues there. She also had no issues with the Law of Chastity, and
talked a little bit about how very strict the rules were for her
generation regarding male and female relationships. The only question
she had about the Word of Widsdom was regarding coffee (the only tea
she drinks is 麦茶), but when we read about the blessings of keeping the
Word of Wisdom she said, 「守りましょう！」 (Let’s keep it!) She also came
to church for the eighth consecutive time – every Sunday since first meeting
us. She is quite amazing.
We also met with a less-active member, Sanagi. Even though he is a
relatively recent convert, Sanagi has a wonderful understanding of the
Atonement and of what he needs to do to endure to the end (daily
prayer, scripture reading, weekly church attendance, repentance,
etc.), but seems to have difficulty doing those things consecutively.
However, he is really happy to meet with us, which we are hoping to do
weekly. Next Saturday we are going to have a かき氷 (shaved ice) party
with him, the other elders, and another less-active member that was
baptized around the same time. It should be a lot of fun!
Recently I again read the wonderful talk "Look Ahead and Believe" by
Elder Edward Dube from the October 2013 General Conference. In that
talk Elder Dube quoted an account by President Boyd K. Packer:
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve
Apostles, once attended an ox pulling contest, where he drew out an
analogy. He said of the experience: “A wooden sledge was weighted with
cement blocks: ten thousand pounds [4,535 kg]–five tons. … The object
was for the oxen to move the sledge three feet [91 cm]. … I noticed a
well-matched pair of very large, brindled, blue-gray animals … [the]
big blue oxen of seasons past.”
In speaking about the result of the contest, he said: “Teams were
eliminated one by one. … The big blue oxen didn’t even place! A small,
nondescript pair of animals, not very well matched for size, moved the
sledge all three times.”
He was then given an explanation to the surprising outcome: “The big
blues were larger and stronger and better matched for size than the
other team. But the little oxen had better teamwork and coordination.
They hit the yoke together. Both animals jerked forward at exactly the
same time and the force moved the load.”
Elder Dube drew an analogy from that story to missionaries and members
being yoked together in the work of salvation. However, as I read that
story this time I thought a bit about what it means for us to be yoked
with Christ. Being yoked with Christ does not mean that we are equal
to the strength with which He can pull, nor does it mean that He pulls
the entire load for us (even though Christ certainly has the power to
do so). It simply means that we pull together with Christ, and pulling
together are able to move a load that we would never be able to move
I am so grateful for this opportunity to work the the Lord as His
missionary. It’s so wonderful, and I am learning so much! I know that
as we take upon ourselves His yoke we can work miracles.
I hope that you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a glorious year!
Elder Madsen 🙂