Transfer 1 Week 5
I guess my email from last week didn't send (and it didn't get saved anywhere either) which is a bummer because it was probably the best email I've ever written ;P Hahaha last week was actually pretty boring though. We had a meeting for the Trainees and trainers, Zone Conference, and Stake conference. I spent maybe two nights in my apartment that week. All those meetings were great though!
This week has been awesome! First off (and awesome in a not so good way) we had a HUGE typhoon! This was the biggest storm in the past 25 years, and one of the most damaging ones in the past century! We just huddled up in our apartment and prayed that nothing would come smashing through our window. A few things broke off the outside of our apartment (window shutters and this thing that divides the balcony between apartments) but nothing important. And we had power the whole time! After it was over, we figured we would just dendo like normal... But we went outside and it was bad. I don't think I saw a single tree that hadn't falled over. All the roads were blocked, stoplights weren't working, and there werer also fallen vending machines everywhere (which, by the way, are BOLTED into the ground!). So we helped clean up some pathways and then headed over to our bishops house to see if anyone in the ward needed help. Amazingly, everyone was totally fine! (Miracle #1 of this week)
Wednesday was sort of similar. Nobody was really out and doing their regular stuff. Just cleaning up after the typhoon. But we went out and did sign dendo in our usual place anyways. I had made a goal after Zone Conference to use the Book of Mormon more in everything that I did (teaching, personal study, and even contacting new people), so I was trying to do that. We do an English challenge, and ask three questions in English. So I decided to ask everyone I stopped if they had ever seen the Book of Mormon before. Most people said no, and weren't really that interested, but we had a few that wanted to know why I acted so sad when they said they hadn't seen (pro tip from Elder Holland, act devastated!). So we were able to give away a few copies of my favorite book ;) There was this one man, whose name we still don't know (he always says Jimmy Fallon hahaha) who said that he had seen the book of Mormon before! He couldn't remember meeting with missionaries at all, and didn't even recognize the name of the church, but he remembered the Book of Mormon. How cool is that??? So we are going to meet with him again this week and we'll see how that goes! (that's 2 miracles!)
Thursday we just did tons and tons of planning (we made a goal to really focus on the people that we're teaching now instead of always trying to find new people to teach, so we planned lots of lessons hahaha). Pretty boring tbh but that's ok. It was good.
Friday we had district meeting here in Sekime (normally we go to Hirakata so the sisters don't have to leave)! That was awesome! We talked more about the Book of Mormon. So I guess that's a sign I was doing something right ;P After we did sign dendo with the sisters (they reallllly wanted to go to this place called Umeda - where we usually go - because it's the most urban place in the whole mission. Tons of people.) . That was way cool! At one point, I noticed that we were all talking to a different person or group of people. It probably wasn't until that moment that I felt like a real missionary. But it was way cool! I was able to talk to this group of people from Kobe and set them up with the missionaries there. Normally I only have like 15 minutes worth of Japanese conversation in me, but I talked to them for a solid 30 and could've gone longer too! (that's like 4 miracles now!)
Saturday we had a meeting with this AWESOME kid ( his name is "Kiddo," so literally with Kid hahaha). He's from Indonesia and is studying Japanese in Japan, but speaks fluent English (bless). He's a Protestant, but doesn't really know a whole lot about Protestantism (is that a word?) When he was younger, he was really sick and got taken to the ICU. He said that while he was there, he had a dream. He was looking at heaven, and how bright it was in there. Everyone looked so happy. He was standing just outside the gate, getting ready to go in, when someone tapped on his shoulder and said,"it's not your time yet." He believes that person was Jesus Christ. Ever since then he said he's had a whole lot more purpose in life, and even worked up the courage to move to a different country and study. I asked him why he thinks he was saved, and he just shrugged and said,"I guess there's something I need to learn here..." Heck yeah, my boy Jesus saved this kids life so he could here the Gospel! (That's miracle 5) This kid is honestly my favorite. He said he was way introverted before coming to Japan and his mom got mad at him because he didn't send enough pictures. He's like my Indonesian twin!
Sunday was a marathon. We taught our man Takemoto during Sunday School of church, then taught an eikaiwa student (we do a 30-30 program, 30 minutes of english and 30 minutes of gospel) right after church, then taught Takemoto again because our ward mission leader didn't think we did a good enough job-not even mad at him. Just kinda sad because he made Takemoto feel really dumb :(- and then had Colorful. Colorful is a children's choir that the bishops wife made for the sole purpose of dendo. We just talk to all the parents, and I met one lady who really wanted to know why missionaries were so happy. She also really wanted to learn English. She didn't know about the whole 30-30 thing, so we just invited her to Eikaiwa. I think she'll turn around eventually though (6 miracles???) Directly after colorful, we had another lesson with a man named Hamai. The Hirakata sisters met him in an Eki, and started to teach him but it turns out he actually lives in our area. So they passed him off to us. That lesson was a little all over the place because we didn't have any time to prepare (the sisters called us about an hour before showing up at the church with him hahaha). But he was a super cool dude and I'm way excited to start teaching him! (there's 7 miracles now!) We didn't get home until 9:30. Also it was fast sunday so I was DYING I didn't get anything to eat until about 10:15... But rice has never tasted so good as it did last night!
Spiritual thought for this week:So I've been thinking a lot about one of my boy scout leaders (from like 7 years ago hahaha) who has since left the church. I remember hearing about how hard of a time he had knowing that prophets had said things that were just straight up wrong and how, even further, modern day prophets had corrected false things previous prophets had stated. So I started reading conference talks! There was this one talk from President Uchtdorf that I read. He said something along the lines of," How inspiring is it that God is able to bring to pass such incredible things through such imperfect people!" That really struck me! In the MTC, all 12 of the Apostles came to a devotional. I remember feeling and seeing an awesome light coming from them. When I shared this with a member of my branch presidency, he said,"that's how your investigators will feel about you." As an apostle of Jesus Christ (notice the lowercase a), I know I'm not perfect. I make mistakes, publically and privately, and I'm sure I've taught something in a way that led them to think something that isn't true. But what does that mean? That you can't trust missionaries, Apostles (capitol A this time ;), Prophets, Bishops, and so on? Why would God call those people then? The answer I've found is that we should "heed" their counsel, not blindly follow. Those groups of people are all awesome, and more often than not will show the right way to follow, but we should never blindly follow. Heed implies that we weigh out what we learn in our minds, and discuss it with others and with God. As members of this church, we need to follow a path inbetween blind obedience and blanket rejection of our leaders! So even though I follow imperfect men and women in an imperfect church, does the Gospel work for me? IT WORKS WONDERFULLY!
Love you all so much!オリバー長老
Pictures:1.) Me and my boy Kiddo!2.) Sign dendo in Umeda (sorry I look stupid I'm trying to make somebody talk to me hahaha)3-4.) Me and My Kobe Doki at TTTM (the trainer and trainee thing)5.) All the current Trainers and Trainees!