We had an awesome experience --right after our GoEigo Eiken class, we had a lesson with T Kyoudai (recent convert). We talked about the Word of Wisdom, and read and discussed D&C 89 together. We talked about what it means to find hidden treasures of knowledge--one thing I learned was that it's not so much that God will only bestow knowledge in us if we keep His commandments, but rather it's that by keeping His commandments, we prepare ourselves to be spiritually able to receive the knowledge He is always pouring down.
T Kyoudai has really solid doctrinal knowledge, especially for a recent convert, so we got to discussing how commandments are both physical and spiritual, and got into a little bit of spiritual physics haha. Usually we have to keep everything very simple and basic, but with T Kyoudai it's basically the opposite; we have to keep it intellectually engaging and keep him from getting bored haha. As we were talking, he said that he likes the word of wisdom and he sees why it's important, but he definitely wouldn't want to teach it to an investigator. He had agreed to teach F san with us right after his lesson, so we drove there together, and T Kyoudai wanted to practice some English on the way. We practiced and had a fun time, so fun that we forgot to tell him that we were teaching the Word of Wisdom to F san. As we sat down to start the lesson, right as the words "Chie no Kotoba" escaped my lips, I saw T's jaw drop. He had told us literally 20 minutes prior that teaching the Word of Wisdom to a non-member is not something that sounded fun to him, so we made sure to go out of our way to give him lots of chances to teach during the lesson and get him a little out of his comfort zone. The lesson went great and T Kyoudai shared some great experiences! As we were driving home after, he told us that recently he had been reading about Alma and the sons of Mosiah, and how they found such great joy from sharing the gospel. He said that he was starting to really feel that joy for himself! He wasn't sure if it was to the point where it would surpass his strength and he would fall to the ground yet, but it was pretty close. His dendo fire is so strong though! It's great because he was just baptized in March, so the gospel is still very new and wonderful to him. Even though I've been a member my whole life, I want the gospel to always be wonderful to me!
He went with us to visit some LAs too. First we went to M Kyoudai's house. He came to church the past 2 weeks! He hadn't been to church for months, maybe years, and then we decided to visit him 2 weeks ago. We read the Book of Mormon with them and testified of Jesus' love, then left. Then he decided to come to church! I don't think we even specifically invited him to come to church. But just being reminded of what the spirit feels like and knowing he would have at least 3 friends there made the difference. He came yesterday again! If just 1 friendly visit can make the difference between someone attending church and not, I wonder what our wards would be like if all the members were regularly reaching out to the less active members...? When we went to visit, we read from the Book of Mormon together, and the 4 of us took turns sharing one of our favorite scriptures. We datduied and discussed each of them, and it was way cool because they all "coincidentally" had a common theme--we read from Mosiah about retaining in remembrance the Savior, from Alma 57 about the stripling warriors trusting in God and obeying with exactness, from Moroni 7 about suffering long and praying with all the energy of heart to have charity, and from Matthew where Peter walks on water but takes his eyes off the Savior and begins to sink. With each scripture, the discussion led to how we need to always have the Savior in our thoughts, and to have faith in and trust Him completely in order to receive the blessings he wants to give us. M Kyoudai had some crazy powerful insights during our study, it was awesome. And if things continue like the past 2 weeks, he will be an active member soon :) His wife has work on Sundays, so she hasn't been able to come yet, but hopefully she will soon!
In our lesson with F, we made a battle plan to start keeping the Word of Wisdom. We taught earlier this week about baptism and confirmation, and basically the situation was that he wants to be baptized, but knows that he needs to stop tobacco and doesn't think he can. So, we finally addressed the elephant in the room, and we just grabbed it right by the horns. We were trying so hard to follow the spirit during that lesson, because I wanted to be bold but not overbearing--one of the reasons he stopped taking lessons with the JWs was because they weren't very kind about him not being able to quit smoking. So, treading carefully and following the spirit, we had a pretty bold lesson. We restated so many times how God gives us commandments because he loves us and wants us to be happy, and how we teach and invite people to come unto Christ for the same reason. At the beginning, he told us he was feeling a little pressured, but we tried our best to not tell him to do anything, but just to invite him. The spirit was with us and Takano Kyoudai was a huge help, and eventually he was like, "yeah, I guess it's about time I stopped using tobacco, huh." This lesson was on July 1st, and we promised him that by July 31st, he would be able to stop smoking. At first he thought that that wasn't enough time, but we made a "battle plan" with him and he is excited about it. Basically it involves smoking just 1 less cigarette each day, and he will text us his daily goals for cigarettes in the morning, then let us know how close he was at night (guess where I learned about setting daily goals and accountability ;) ). I think it's super important that he feels like we are all working together towards a common goal, rather than just us pressuring him to conform to our goals for him. Please pray that he will have the strength to carry out the battle plan!
The sisters' investigator Momone chan had an awesome experience with the Book of Mormon his week! The sisters spent some time putting together this super cute decorated Book of Mormon for her (sasuga Shimaitachi), and they had the write little notes to put on it as well. We also made her a bookmark for it (which was our first experience with a laminator--we learned the hard way that 2 hot frying pans do not work as a laminator, and that you can't just put any random plastic into the laminator either. Eventually we decided to buckle down and buy some real supplies). She made us (the 4 missionaries) a video message of how much she loved her Book of Mormon, and told us through tears about some hard things she had been experiencing and how the Book of Mormon helped her to find peace. It made me realize how much I take that book for granted sometimes!
We visited K again (the American LA), he fed us some way good fajitas. Even though our visits aren't really teaching visits, we usually end up talking about God and spiritual stuff which is way cool. He loves fasting, so we talked about that a lot. He is big into health and nutrition so I have been learning a lot about the biochemistry of fats and carbs haha. I was actually to keep up with the conversation, it made me very grateful for PDBio and Neurobiology at BYU haha.
So, we usually eat pretty healthy. But, this week was Mitsuyama Shimai's birthday, and we were thinking it would be a good idea to make her an ice cream cake. We went to the grocery store and as we were buying our 2 cake mixes, 2 bags of powdered sugar, 1 bag of regular sugar, a tub of ice cream, and sprinkles, we happened to run into K of all people! The guy who doesn't even eat normal flour because the carbs are bad for you. He gave us such a hard time, it was so funny. We actually ran into him twice at the grocery store, and each time it seems like he is happier to see us! We have bonded pretty quickly over being the only gaijin in the whole city haha.
It's been a great week! The weeks are seriously just flying by. This branch is great and we are privileged to work with some awesome people :) We had to drop a lot of our potentials this week, but that means we will probably have some solid tracting time this week (hisashiburi). We will also meet President Sekiguchi ! I have heard from the missioanries in the honbu that he is waayyy genki and so fun. It is so sad that Smith Kaicho is gone, but I'm also really excited for Sekiguchi Kaicho :)
Love you so much!!
|R Kun; at the end of the lesson I asked who he would like to pray, and he said "we'll pray to God!" I rephrased the question and he asked me to say the prayer to God.|
|Bookmark for M chan--finished product|
|Some random high schoolers we met. They wanted to take a picture|
with the white guys.
|Our attempt at ice cream cake...|