This week was pretty crazy. We had a Zone conference, koukan with the Zone Leaders, interviews with Smoot kaichou, as well as a blitz in Abeno. It's been a pretty busy week. We actually have two new investigators to meet with in a sec, so I don't have a lot of free time this P-day. Oh well. I can rest when I'm dead, but right now it's time to preach the gospel. I'll try to give you a quick run down on the interesting details of the week though, so don't worry.
First, Koukan with the Zone Leaders. It was pretty great. I got to participate in inviting one of their investigators to be baptized. We taught the Plan of Salvation (I got to teach this man about the Pre-mortal life and the purpose of this life), and then at the end invited this man to be baptized. He had already been baptized in a different Christian church a few years back with his wife. He even brought out his scrapbook and showed us the pictures. His wife died a couple years ago though, which gave us the opportunity to talk about eternal families. He didn't accept the invitation to be baptized at that time, but he said that he would study the Book of Mormon a little more in order to decide. As we were teaching the lesson, I just realized how amazing God's plan is. We can share eternal happiness with an eternal companion! We can perform work for family members and loved ones that have passed on in order to give them the opportunity to embrace God's plan. This gospel is truly a blessing and a miracle!
Second, Zone Conference!!!!! My first Zone Conference was pretty darned spectacular! I learned so much, and had so much fun. My interview with Smoot Kaichou was extremely uplifting. Our Mission President is so incredible! The conference started off with him and Smoot Shimai teaching us all about personal revelation, and I learned quite a bit. One of the things I learned is explained in this quote from Joseph Smith: "Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it." As missionaries we are promised revelation to guide our actions in the work of salvation. This is the Lord's work, and so if we try to do it without his instructions then we will be doing it either incorrectly or ineffectively. However, personal revelation is not just promised to missionaries, but it's promised to everyone. That is the great message of the Restoration. God has an active role in the lives of his children. We just need to talk to him and ask for guidance.
Now, on to the Blitz. After Zone conference, the Osaka zone missionaries split into two groups and ran off to do missionary work in the Abeno Area. I wa in the much smaller group of 6, and we went to Abeno Eki. It's this huge train station with a shopping mall attached that's, like, a few city blocks big. I was carrying a big sign that said "大切なものは何？" or in English "What is important to you?" Then we had another sign that had six options: money, work, family, friends, yourself, health. We walked around this Eki with our sign and stopped people to have them put a sticker on which one is most important to them. After they chose one, we would then ask them why they chose that particular answer, and then try to share the gospel with them. It worked out really well, and we were able to have some meaningful conversations with a lot of people. It was also really fun to walk with a big sign over my head yelling out "what's important to you?".
Finally, I'd like to wrap up my email by sharing a scripture with you all.
"17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."
The thing that really stood out to me about this scripture is the man's initial question to Jesus. He asks Jesus, what do I need to do to get to heaven? In my estimation, the man was asking Jesus almost for a check- list on how to "earn" Heaven. But this Gospel is not about earning Heaven, it is about becoming someone who chooses Heaven. Jesus tells him that all he needs to do is sell EVERTHING, give it to the poor, and bear all his burdens while following Christ. He was saying that if you want Heaven then you need to become someone who loves God more than you love your stuff. In other words, you need to follow me and let me lift you up. The rich man received personal revelation, or a personally applicable commandment on how to become better than he was. We have not all been given the commandment to sell everything we own and give it to the poor, but we do all have ways that we can become better.
I know that if we turn to the Lord, He will tell us what we need to do to become more like Him. Just make sure that when you ask the question you are ready to act on whatever answer you get. I love you all.
God bless. All the best.
Ttyl, in a bit!
With best regards