Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19, 2011

I will hit my year mark this Thursday. I feel really weird.

So the event of the week was the 交換 (exchange) I got to do in Abeno. I`ve heard stories about it for my whole mission because my trainer (Bowman 長老) was trained there. It was absolutely a blast. I exchanged with Elder Lystrup from Las Vegas. I exchanged with him a few months ago in Shingu. It was great to work together again in a polar opposite atmosphere. If you remember, Elder Lystrup was my zone leader when I was in Shingu. I exchanged with him back in May in the most rural area of the mission. This week we worked together in downtown Osaka.

He is simply an incredible missionary. Anyway, we spent the day going from house to house, visiting recent converts, less-actives, and taught one investigator at the church. It was incredible. The lesson we taught at the church was with a guy who was dating the older sister of a member here. That older sister is currently serving a full time mission in Sapporo.  The younger sister is from Himeji so I know her parents. She came to be the doseki (member helper) for the lesson. He was amazing, I`m sure he`ll be baptized.
Our investigator, Elder Lystrup, me and the helping member after our lesson at church.

We were planning to visit the Yasufuku`s (acquaintance of mine from BYU) but they weren`t home so we went to Yasufuku 姉妹`s sister`s house. She also served in the Sapporo mission about 28 years ago. Sound familiar? She shared some awesome experiences from her mission with us.

The next morning, we attended an 80 year old member`s cooking class that she uses to share the gospel. Yes, you read that right. She had been thinking about stopping it because people had stopped listening to her gospel messages. She asked us to attend and sing. We sang and all of the 8 students stayed for the gospel message.

Overall, I just learned from Lystrup 長老`s example of love. He loves everyone, sincerely. It`s such a simple thing but such a hard thing to truly develop. It shows though. The members trust him with everything. Christ didn`t tell us to "hang all the law and prophets" (Matthew 22) on love for nothing. I had a blast in that area and would love to serve there someday.

Elder Lystrup and me in metro Osaka. We have a picture of us in the most inaka (rural) area in the mission and now perhaps the most tokai (metro) area (Abeno) in the mission.

Our key investigator still just needs to come to church. We have to strengthen his faith until he gets to that point. He`s going to start attending institute.

We taught another investigator this week who is just absolutely awesome. He`s outgoing and...normal. I love that. He isn`t overflowing with excitement and enthusiasm about his investigation of the church, but he IS willing to read and find out for himself whether or not it`s true. That`s what`s best about him, he`s humble. People like him are rare. I think he`ll be baptized within a month or so. He told me on the phone yesterday that things have gotten hard in his life since he started reading the Book of Mormon and naturally, he feels like he should pray for help more often. He said he doesn`t think he receives help, but it feels good. I`m sure it will all click for him pretty soon...

We went to member on Saturday that was far away. We weren`t exactly sure why we were going out there. We had already been pretty recently because the Branch President told us to visit him, but he seemed just fine. He`s a Melchizidek priesthood holder. He told us that he wasn`t planning on attending church but changed his mind because we had come to see him. If we can keep priesthood holders attending, the Nara branch will very soon achieve their goal of becoming a ward again. I love working with members and helping them achieve goals that they already have for themselves.

We`re still working with our golden investigator who can't get parental permission. He says that he wants to go to Utah now because of the English program. Maybe we`ll room together...

The members worry about his well-being a lot. In all honesty, we could probably just step out and they would take perfectly good care of him. They call us about him and give us ideas. I`m just thrilled with the members here. We also met with a mother who`s husband and daughter aren`t members. The daughter comes to church every week. She isn`t baptized because she feels like she needs to decide for herself. Hopefully we`ll be able to meet with her soon. The member also gave us some information on one of her 20 year old co-workers who seems really interested in the gospel.

This is a Gangoji, another world hertiage temple.

You can`t take pictures inside of it, but you can walk around inside the main hall and touch everything. The temple isn`t world heritage for its size but for its history. It was moved from Asuka when Nara became the capital clear back in 718AD. It was one of the first Buddhist temples in Japan, ever.

This last picture is from the zone activity several weeks ago where everyone got caught in a downpour and were soaked.

It sounds like everything is nice and busy at home. I guess that`s all the time I have. Have a good week!


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