I have to tell you about an absolutely bizarre experience that happened yesterday...We were sitting in DCS, which is a meeting we have every morning with the Dendo Shunin and all the senkyoshi in our area with ward senkyoshi. We discuss the progress and needs of investigators and how we can accommodate those needs. We had about 15 minutes left when one of the Bishop`s counselors interrupted and said, `There`s someone downstairs for you.` Surprised, Ellefsen Shimai and I jumped up. We ran downstairs to the foyer and there was one of our former investigators whom we had dropped about a month ago. We talked with her and sat down in the chapel. Some members walked past and talked with all of us as we waited for sacrament to start. Turns out, she only came to church to tell everyone what she believes. Nothing wrong with that, but I felt bad for Ellefsen Shimai who sat next to her the whole time, when it became apparent that instead of telling what she believed, this former investigator really just wanted to bash everything we believed. Sometimes I am so grateful I can`t understand everything everyone says in Japanese! Ellefsen Shimai was so exhausted as she tried to testify and understand this lady`s Japanese. We asked her why she came to church if she doesn`t believe anything she hears and she told us that she wanted to tell everyone about her religion because we are all fools from America and we have no idea what nihonjin need.
I have to say she is right about one thing, and this week I`ve really learned that lesson: I have NO idea what nihonjin need. I only know my investigators PRETTY well…but God knows them PERFECTLY. She`s also right that we Americans have no clue what they (Japanese) are going through. The scriptures confirm this and I also `...believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.` (Mosiah 4:9) `...and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.` (Mosiah )
Only God knows His children`s hearts. The only way I can know is through the Holy Ghost. If I don`t have the spirit with me, I honestly can`t understand a word of what`s going on. Yet I have this overwhelming desire to love these people regardless of how much, or how little, of their nihongo I can understand. However, when I have the spirit I can know their hearts and their desires like God does.
We had dinner with some Potential Investigators last week. They are two really cute nihonjin daigakusei about 19 years old. We laughed, and talked and enjoyed some delicious pasta and pizza. When it was time to head home we had a 15 minute walk to the nearest bus station...you can bet we taught a lesson in 15 minutes! They loved every single thing we had to say. It`s crazy how much more natural it is to speak nihongo when I talk about the gospel. And even though it was freezing cold, and we were walking at a brisk pace, and it was super dark, we all felt the spirit, and I know that they really came to know a little bit more about their Savior and their Heavenly Father. They are both our new investigators. They are both coming to church next week, too! One of the girls asked us if we taught a lot of people about our church and we said we teach anyone and everyone who is ready to learn about it. She said that all the questions she`s had in her heart ever since she was a little girl were answered as we walked and taught. There`s no way I could`ve known what kinds of questions she had been asking herself since she was a child, but through the spirit we were able to have an opportunity to teach and we did. We opened our mouths and the spirit helped our words to make sense. It`s truly amazing what kinds of things we can do when we have the spirit with us.
There is a scripture that has been running through my head for the past couple of weeks and I have really come to love it. It is when Alma is praying for the Zoramites and he says, `O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.` (Alma 31:34-35)
There`s absolutely nothing else I desire more at this time in my life than to bring my brothers and sisters here in Japan home to their Loving Heavenly Father. I can`t believe how crazy excited I get when someone asks to meet with us again, or takes our chirashi and tells us they`ll see us at church, or when an investigator starts progressing...there`s no sweeter joy than that! God knows the people of Japan, my brothers and sisters, perfectly. I promise you that God knows YOU better than you know yourself too! God just wants us all back home with Him again because He knows, being able to see the end from the beginning, that this is what will bring us the most happiness. It`s also why He has tens of thousands of missionaries and missionary efforts around the world telling people about His gospel. He knows us better than we know ourselves, He knows exactly what we need.
It`s been a crazy busy, rough week. Missionary life is SOOOOOOOOO different than you would think it is. I have never laughed more, and cried more, than I have since I`ve been here...it`s a blessing to experience. I really do love being a missionary and focusing on Jesus Christ all day every day.
Sometimes when it gets rough the only thing that helps me to keep going is thinking about Christ and His sacrifice, that He came to this earth, showed us the way, and died in order for me to be here, so I should keep pushing forward!
Sorry no mission pics this week, we were way too busy, but maybe this coming week!I am so grateful for a loving, unchanging Heavenly Father who loves us. I am grateful that He`s given me an awesome family that sent me an awesome package last week! Yes I got my winter package and it`s been very cold recently, so I`ve definitely been using everything in that box! Thanks for all your prayers and your hard work. I love you all so much and I hope you all have an enjoyable Christmas season! Until next week...
All my aloha,
P.S. No word about calling home for Christmas...I probably won`t know until next week or the week of Christmas. But I am just calling, no skype. Love you!