Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Hofu, Japan!
This week has been pretty great! Elder Rowley is getting over his cold. I have a cold now, but that’s alright. We went to the doctor the other day and he gave us some medicine, so we’ll see how it turns out.
Last night we went on splits with our Branch President and his executive secretary. We were searching for less-actives, and Elder Rowley and President Best were able to visit and have a little lesson with a part-member family whose 10-year-old boy comes to church – but the executive secretary and I were not able to find the less active we were looking for. However, we housed a bit in the apartment building and contacted some interesting souls, one of whom seemed a bit interested and actually asked for pamphlet but with whom we weren’t able to make a return appointment.
You may or may not remember Ishioka san, the young mother that I mentioned last week that we had a lesson with on Sunday. We had another lesson this past Thursday, and it was going to be with her – she was initially there – but then her child ran off to play and she had to follow, so we ended up having a lesson with her father instead. He likes talking with American missionaries – apparently they came over to his house fairly often about twenty years ago – but we are not yet sure how interested he is in the gospel. We also met his wife for a moment, and she seemed quite nice. They even pulled out their old photo albums to show us pictures they had taken with the sister missionaries whom they had previously met with. Unfortunately the young mother was unable to come to church this week because of a school thing her daughter had on Sunday, but we will try to meet with them again and help them see the great joy they can find in coming unto Christ!
There haven’t been too many other significant events this past week, just missionary work. But missionary work is really never just missionary work – hardly a day passes (and those pretty swiftly) without something interesting or unexpected happening. Last night it rained quite a bit – which wasn’t really unexpected, and may not be that interesting. However, I did find it interesting when I looked at the weather forecast today to see that this week it is expected to be colder in Hofu than it is in Spokane. Hopefully I’m not a popsicle by the end of this transfer – but if so, I am the Lord’s popsicle. Of course, I definitely am blessed. I could be in the Sendai or Sapporo missions (or Russia or Canada, etc.). Then I would be a snowman!
This morning as we were studying together Elder Rowley shared a scripture from the Beatitudes: "And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." It reminded me of the baptismal covenant found in Mosiah 18:9, which says that we should be "willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort". As I thought about that, I thought that Christ’s statement that all those who mourn shall be comforted doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody who is sad will receive relief from their sadness – at least perhaps not in this life. However, as we keep our baptismal covenant to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who need comfort, we will be able to find comfort ourselves. I have definitely found that that is how the gospel works. That is what Christ means about losing ourselves. As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we truly will find ourselves. As President Kimball said, "the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others–indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!" As a missionary I have definitely found that to be true. When I focus on myself there is very little joy in this work, but when I focus on others I find greater happiness than I have ever experienced.
I know this is the Lord’s work, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be serving his children – through whom I am serving Him.
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!