Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Shimonoseki, Japan.
This week has been quite wonderful! We had a mission conference with Elder Choi and his wife. It was superb! He and his wife are very funny, and also very insightful. I learned (or was reminded of) many things. Here are just a few:
1. I was not only foreordained, but also received additional preparation in the pre-existence. The Lord put in a lot of work to prepare me to be here at this time.
2. The Lord needs bold missionaries, and His children also need boldness to wake them up.
3. "Please light bonfire." God’s children need to feel the heat that the Spirit brings, and we have the resources needed to light the bonfire that will provide the warmth they need.
4. Be bolder! I am working on bearing purer personal testimony – focusing on testifying of how the gospel has impacted my own life and promising that it will help theirs’ more than just telling people things about the gospel and hoping it catches their interest. If they are open, the Holy Ghost will catch interest in their hearts, which is much more effective than me trying to catch interest in their minds.
5. Sing! Elder Whisenant and I started singing "I am a Child of God" at peoples’ doors the day after the conference, and it definitely has made a difference!
6. Show more love. My level of boldness can only be equal to the level of love that people see and feel from me. If they do not feel loved, they will not be able to receive a bold invitation. As one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Bowler, puts it, "150 Love, 150 Bold".
The other day we were knocking doors in a newer neighborhood, and there were three young girls playing outside, racing up and down the streets. We said "hello" and "how are you?" to them a few times. Eventually we came to a house and found them sitting on the front porch scraping chalk into a can (we never really determined what they were planning on doing with the chalk; I don’t think they knew, either). One of them (who lived there) went inside to get her mom, and she came out and we had a nice conversation with her, in which we discovered that her grandmother was Catholic, so they have had mixed Christian/Buddhist traditions in their home. She went to a Catholic school where she read some of the Bible when she was younger, and her children also attend a Catholic school in which they sing hymns and study the Bible a little. We introduced the Book of Mormon – which she had never heard of before – and invited her to church, and she seemed interested in coming. At the end we sang "I am a Child of God" to them as well, which they seemed to enjoy very much. We weren’t able to set a specific time to meet again, but will definitely visit again this week to follow-up.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to hear from the Lord’s representatives, and for the reminders that they have given me to help me become a more effective servant. I love the Lord, and I know that God loves me!
I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!
p.s. (Finally) here are some pictures from Miyamura’s baptism a couple weeks ago:
Left to right: Elder Whisenant, Miyamura, me