Trials of Faith: Just Hold On!

Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am
doing quite well here in Shimonoseki, Japan!

This week was quite nice. One of our return appointments actually came
through! It was with a man (and his wife was also there) named
Ishimaru, who we met the previous Saturday. He is slightly interested
in what we have to say, although he said the usual, "I’m Japanese, and
therefore not really interested in joining other religions", but
apparently his wife’s younger sister is a member who lives in Fukuoka!
We decided to show the video "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father", which
immediately invited the Spirit into the room and provided an
opportunity for us to testify. The Ishimarus were very impressed by
the video, and are interested in meeting with us again. Unfortunately
he is very busy with business trips throughout this month, but we will
keep in contact with them and see whether we can’t set up a time to
meet. They also love Halloween (which apparently is a growing thing
here in Japan, although the Ishimarus were probably introuced to the
holiday when they lived in America for a couple years), so we will
definitely invite them to our branch’s Halloween Party.

Elder Colton is awesome! I can definitely see him becoming a
trainer/leader. I mentioned last week that I really feel like I’m the
one being trained, and this week has simply affirmed that feeling. I
have particularly learned how to become much more dedicated and
faithful in seeking to accomplish the goals that we set each day, and
am excited for all the miracles that we are going to witness this week
and throughout our time together! I am grateful to those of you who
responded with advice on how to be a wonderful trainer, and will
definitely apply the knowledge that you have shared.

Lately our investigator Fukatani has been having a bit of a trial of
faith, and is questioning whether she wants to be baptized. She likes
meeting with us and wants to continue doing so, but it seems that she
has anxieties about the responsibilities of being a member (callings,
talking in church, etc.). Her primary concern seems to be that if she
is baptized then she will lose her freedom. However, we are meeting
with her tomorrow and will do what we can to help her see that being a
member of God’s church actually introduces greater freedom! Just like
Joseph Smith went through an excruciatingly difficult experience and
had to exert all of his efforts to pray to God before receiving an
experience greater than anything he could have imagined, we also will
often have incredible trials, challenges, and temptations, and if we
exert all of our efforts to overcome them the Lord will bless us with
much greater things than we could ever imagine. Sometimes it may
appear that God’s rules are constricting and remove our freedom.
However, I am reminded of the story of Zoram in the Book of Mormon. He
was essentially compelled to go with Nephi, which compulsion may
appear to have removed his freedom, but if Zoram had remained in
Jerusalem he would have been killed or taken captive by the
Babylonians. Instead, having gone with Nephi to the Promised Land he
gained great freedom and incredible blessings. The people who chose to
let go of the iron rod or leave the Tree of Life probably initially
felt like they were freeing themselves, but then they got lost in the
mists of darkness and many were drowned. The only way to true freedom
and the greatest joy we can ever experience is by holding fast to the
iron rod, and when we reach the tree and partake of the fruit, stay by
the tree! Don’t become caught up in the world around us as they laugh
their way into captivity and death. The Lord’s way is the way of
eternal life and happiness!

I am so grateful to be the Lord’s servant, and be able to help His
children come unto Him! I am excited to once again watch General
Conference. I love our wonderful prophets and leaders! I know that
they are each called of God through revelation, and I know that we can
each receive personal revelation from a loving Heavenly Father that
cares about us and wants us to be happy.

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


マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen


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