November 20, 2017


Osaka, Sekime Ward



Week 14: Feasting on the Word, The Prophesied Tanaka, and the Two Kings


This week a lot has happened, and I'm not really sure where to start off. I guess I can start with a question: what is truth? In Japanese the word is 真理 (shinri) meaning reason/logic and reality, but according to one of the Japanese people in our district, the concept of absolute truth is a difficult one for most 日本人 to understand. This week I got to see first hand proof of that.

I know that I am a son of our Heavenly Father. I know that God is the creator of heaven and earth. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the very son of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God translated by the prophet Joseph Smith. These are all truths that I was able to personally confirm, and they are all truths that I teach about as a missionary. My job is to teach what I know about Christ, and invite others the learn for themselves whether or not these things are true. But, as I found out in a lesson, if the person I'm inviting doesn't understand the concept of absolute truth there's not much I can do to motivate them to act. Deschamps 長老and I were teaching an investigator this week, and we extended the commitment to pray to know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. The investigator responded with, "I don't think I need to". We asked if he wanted to receive confirmation from God that this is the truth, and he responded "What is truth? It seems to me that all of the different churches are true. All that really matters is that people believe in them. So, I don't really see a need to pray about it." We ended trying to emphasize the importance of him taking action to learn, but there didn't seem to be much chance of him acting on our invitation. We can't force anyone to learn, so I hope that the investigator finds a desire in himself to act on our invitation.

Now, on to the funny stories! First, we met with a woman at the church who wanted to pick up a copy of the Book of Mormon. She stopped by and we talked with with her a little bit about the church. She asked us what made our church different from other Christian churches, so we were able to to teach her the the Restoration lesson to answer her question. The woman had her 1 year old daughter with her, and this kid was incredibly adorable. We gave the woman the book of Mormon at the beginning of our meeting, but then we sat and talked with her for another 30mins. This gave the daughter plenty of time to take the book of Mormon out of her mother's bag and attempt to read it. This little girl, barely old enough to walk, flipped through the introduction and first few pages of 1 Nephi with such intensity that I was forced to question whether or not she could actually read it. Finally, I began to see confusion in her eyes. I couldn't tell if she was suddenly realizing that she didn't know how to read, or if she had seen a verse that had caused her to ponder life's greater meaning. Whatever the case may be, she quickly closed the book and lifted it up to eye level. And, Taking Nephi's invitation a little too literally, probably because she's 1 and can't yet understand metaphors, she then began to physically feast, or more accurately teethe, upon the Words of Christ. This is the desire we are looking for in an investigator! Give her a few more years and I'm sure that little girl will be a strong addition to the Sekime Ward.

Second, within the mission there are a lot of challenges. These are not challenges as in hardships but feats of incredible strength, endurance, daring, or stupidity. One such challenge entails the successful consumption of a king sized bowl of gyudon. Gyudon is just rice with beef and vegetables. The King size is a size not even advertised on the menu. It is the stuff of legend. I will include a picture for reference. I was told beforehand that the fastest recorded time in the mission for finishing a king sized was 15 minutes, and that many people don't finish at all. So my starting parameters for this challenge were:
1. Finish the king size
2. Do it in under 15 minutes
3. Do it with a smile
So, we get seated, order our food, and wait. The lovely server brings me my food, and we start the timer. 10 minutes later I finish, and everybody is shocked (we were on a koukan, so there were four of us instead of just my companion and me). I think it was the smile that threw it over the edge, because Stuart 長老 challenges me to do a second one. I told him no, but then he said he would pay for it. How could I refuse?The second took much longer to finish and almost broke me a few times, but anything is possible if you believe! After finishing 2 king sizes, I did not eat for the next 36 hours. I actually felt full for an entire day and a half afterwards.

Finally, on to the really amazing part of the week. Like I just said, we had a koukan this week in our area. We were setting up our goals for the day when I decided to set a really specific goal. I said that on the koukan I wanted to meet a man named Tanaka [real name] who is in his early twenties and is prepared to listen to and ponder our message. Well, we set out for the day and everything was going pretty normal. We talked to a lot of people early on in the day, had a lesson, and handed out a lot of flyers. We eventually made our way to the park. After walking around in the park without much success we found ourselves at the top of the a large hill. We sat down to figure out where to go next when a man sprints up the hill as quickly as he could. I turned to Stuart 長老 and said we need to talk to that man. He's already running back down the hill at this point, so we quickly chased after him. He gets to the bottom and is about to begin sprinting again when I caught up to him and stopped him mid stride. We introduced ourselves and told him that we'd like to share a message with him. We ended up talking with him for 25 minutes and shared a few scriptures with him. At the end we gave him our contact info and asked for his name. He said his name was Tanaka [real name]. I was so shocked and excited. This man fit exactly what I was praying for down to his name! It was such a strong testimony to me that God really has an active hand in his work.

Life is great! God is good! Read the scriptures and pray, and I promise you that you can receive answers to your questions. I love this gospel, and I love you all! Talk to you next week.

God bless. All the best.
Ttyl, in a bit!
With best regards


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