Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10, 2011

I guess first of all, I haven`t taken any pictures this week. I don`t know what it is, I guess I`m finally getting used to this place and I`m not amazed everytime I turn the corner.

I`m just blown away about the lack of time I have right now. Adding another hour to companionship study and 30 minutes to language study everyday really puts you in the apartment for half of the day. I still need to figure something out. We`re not finding anyone and I feel like I`m really not giving my brand new missionary the right entry experience into missionary work. I really need to think and work smart.

So I guess I`ll start with General Conference which was this past weekend. The last time I watched General Conference was in Ibaraki which also happens to be the Osaka North Stake Center and the entire stake was there. That was a blast. Since the Osaka Abeno stake is so big, the split it into two viewing districts. On Saturday, there were 7 members watching General Conference in the Yamatokoriyama building. Yeah, seven. The member setting up said he`d never seen anything like it. We`re still not sure why exactly nobody showed up. There were hundreds of members in the Ibaraki Stake Center last April for the Saturday sessions. I`m confused. Sunday was pretty normal, high attendance though.

The talks were great. Elder Holland`s talk in Priesthood Session really made me sit up straight. I don`t think he`s been that fiery since his Book of Mormon talk. There definitely needs to be some straightening out. I loved the talk from one of the Seventies (forgot the name) about how service is doing the right thing, at the right time, without delay. I also thought Sister Dalton was genius. A lot of the time when a member of the primary presidency or young women`s presidency speaks, we expect a sappy talk about how we can learn from the young people`s example and their experiences as they`ve traveled the world meeting them. I loved how Sister Dalton chose a very specific topic and wasn`t afraid to speak to Priesthood holders. General Conference simply has so much more meaning when you`re a missionary.

On Tuesday we were out working when Mr. S called and asked if we could meet him in 30 minutes. He`s been busy so we haven`t been able to see him too much. He`s one of my favorite people I`ve met on my mission thus far. He`s just a blast. He`s really outgoing and open, we get along really well. Anyway, we just discussed what he was feeling, how his Book of Mormon reading is going, whether he had prayed or not and such. He said that he took up Moroni`s challenge as we invited him. He prayed moreso for personal reasons rather than to know if the Book of Mormon is true or not. He just started living by himself. His family all moved back to his hometown while he stayed behind by himself and apparently it`s been difficult. He works at Mos Burger all day and he doesn`t really know what he`s living for. He prayed to know what to do with himself and said he really felt like something was telling him that he`s being selfish and that if he wants to become more happy, he needs to find a way to help and serve others. We talked a little more and the discussion wasn`t moving forward. He still wasn`t sure about joining an organized religion or whether he wanted to keep commandments.

I decided to just ask him what he wants for himself. What he wants in life. He told me what he`s said earlier: he wants to just lose himself in serving and loving others and be fulfilled that way. He just doesn`t know how. I opened Mosiah 18:8-10 and read it with him. He stared at it for over a minute. It was one of the most spiritual moments of my mission. He didn`t know what to say, neither did I. We gave him a solid commitment to follow the Word of Wisdom and he agreed. He also came to General Conference yesterday. He loved it. He didn`t understand much of what was being said but he said he was so impressed with all of the speakers because they were so "信じぶかい” (wise). Well, he went for a walk to go get lunch afterwards and the Yamatokoriyama elders caught him smoking. He told us before that he drinks coffee on ceold mornings sometimes to stay awak, only drinks tea when offered, and socially drinks alcohol about once a month. He said he hated tobacco so naturally I felt a little bit betrayed. When he got back to the church, he basically turned himself in. He felt horrible and said "止めるしかない” ("I have to quit") as he went home. I think that was supposed to happen.  God is really working with and preparing him. I`m excited for him.

We visited K 姉妹 this week. Apparently she still talks to Elder Everett and his mom all the time.

I-san has a baptismal date next month. We needed to make a goal with him or he wasn`t going to progress.  For the lesson, we read 3 Nephi 14 to really teach him the importance of the sabbath and it worked beautifully. It just made sense when he read it from the scriptures. He made a goal to come to the last hour of church almost by himself. It was like his faith and desire jumped through the roof once he read the commandment from the Book of Mormon. I`ve really (re)learned the power of the Book of Mormon this week. I don`t know why I haven`t been able to use it this effectively for my whole mission. Anyway, it did miracles this week.

With General Conference and two hours of studying everyday, we really haven`t had time to do much else. I wish I had more to report on.

It looks like the Homecoming festivities were fun in Kaysville. That really is a tradition-rich place. I would`ve paid to see you drive that truck in that parade.

They`ve tried to deliver the package from Eiko Andrews to me twice but I haven`t been home. I`ll get it tomorrow. Thanks for sending the music. This month's Liahona had a section on just EFY Japan. Did you get it? You should. Just looking at the pictures makes me teary-eyed. I always thought the idea of being an EFY counselor sounded like hell but I`d for sure do it in Japan for a week.

I enjoyed the question exercise last week. Feel free to do it whenever you`d like. And it doesn`t have to be just Dad. I do understand that asking any of the rest of you to have interest in what I`m doing is a little むり (pointless) though.

I guess that`s my time. Have a good week!

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