Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Shimonoseki, Japan!
This has been another wonderful week! On Thursday we had a great faith-building experience. Earlier that week we had met a college student and set up a not-too-promising appointment for that Thursday, but we decided to actually take the time to properly plan for the lesson with the faith that he would come. And then…he came! This is the second time in one week that a not-too-hot appointment has come through! (And that definitely is a miracle.) His name is Sawa san, a college student, and he actually showed interest in our message, prayed at the end of the lesson, said that he should be able to attend church on Sunday (although he ended up not being able to come), and is willing to meet again this Thursday! I have definitely come to realize the power of faith in bringing about miracles. As we exercise our faith we truly can perform miracles for the Lord. I realized last Thursday (just before our appointment with Sawa san) that oftentimes I have allowed my faith to slacken by thinking, "This person probably won’t show up", and then they don’t. So, I said a little prayer asking for forgiveness and for help in having better faith, and then Sawa san came to his lesson. As we really plan forthem and pray that they will come, through our faith perhaps God can help them remember their appointment and have a desire to keep it. Faith works miracles.
Over the past couple days we have been testing a tip from a 40-page "Missionary Guide" that the mission office recently prepared and emailed to us. The tip was to ask people at the end of a contact whether they have five or ten minutes right then where we can share a short message. As we have done this, I have honestly been very surprised that people actually say yes. On Saturday when we first started doing it we were able to have a mini-lesson with three different people within 1 1/2 hours. I was even more suprised when they didn’t have any objection to our saying a prayer with them before sharing our message. Oftentimes the way it has worked is we talk to a contact about baptism, invite the to be baptized (usually they say "I don’t know"), testify that they can learn for themselves whether our message is true, and then ask if we can take five or ten minutes right then to teach them how to do so. We have just started doing this, so we have mainly taught about one topic – how to pray to Heavenly Father – but will work on branching out to different topics as we become better. So, we open with a prayer, teach them how to pray, and invite them to try praying to Heavenly Father. I think the thing that has surprised me most about these mini-lessons is that every person we have done this with so far has accepted the invitation to pray. When we started I honestly expected most people to say no, but so far every person has prayed at the end of the mini-lesson! Now we are mainly working on moving from there into setting up a time when we can meet again, since we have not yet been able to make return appointments. However, we have been able to get each person’s contact information so that we can follow-up and hopefully set up an appointment in he future. I have great faith that as we continue to practice and work on setting up return appointments we will be able to get a lot more appointments, a lot more investigators, and thus help a lot more people come unto Christ!
This past week as we were teaching Tanaka san about faith, the spirit prompted us to teach him how to repent. As we did so we realized that he did not understood what to do to repent (and I also realized that I need to study more on how to teach it, especially in Japanese; even though I have been a missionary for "a little over a year", I definitely still have much to improve). Tanaka san is doing very well, and I definitely believe that he will be well-prepared for his baptism on the 28th!
I love this work! It is a lot of fun, even though it is difficult. Honestly, sometimes I don’t like it and don’t feel in the mood to go out…but then I do it anyway, and then I like it!
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!
Mom: we eat with members every once in a while, maybe between one and three times per month (but sometimes more often; it depends on the week). The Fukatani couple (our recent convert) feeds us every time we do a lesson with them, so we have had lunch with them every week for the past few months. Japan doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving; right now we don’t have any particular plans for Thanksgiving (except that our P-Day will be on Thanksgiving instead of Monday, so don’t worry when you don’t get an email until then), but we’ll see if whether or not we end up having dinner with somebody.
Grandma: We usually cook our meals and everybody helps out, so I often have the opportunity to cook. We have gotten fairly good at the few different simple meals that we usually make (rice with curry, "mabodofu", fried rice, stir-fry, etc.). I made french toast for breakfast yesterday, which was a nice change from the "furugura" (fruits granola cereal) and another cereal that I usually eat throughout the week.