Date

December 18, 2017

Area

Osaka, Sekime Ward

Companion

Deschamps-choro

Week 18: koukans, and interviews, and conferences, oh my

This week was crazy busy. On Tuesday we had a Koukan with the Zone Leaders, which was a lot of fun. We went to visit an old man that I actually taught last time I was on a Koukan with them. For some reason, however, when he saw us, he slammed the door in our faces. By the end of the day we think that we figured out what happened to make him not want to meet with us. Hopefully, the Zone Leaders will be able to meet with him again and work things out, because he was progressing pretty well before this interaction. Aside from that, our Koukan went pretty great! We taught Eikaiwa (English Class) later that night, and it was a lot of fun.

On Wednesday we had interviews with President Smoot, and that was fantastic. I always feel so uplifted and enlightened after talking to President Smoot. He and Smoot 姉妹 are the best! After that we went and taught the Eikaiwa class in our area. It went super well! I was able to get everyone to participate, and it seemed like people learned a lot. That night I taught the last lesson in our Eiken class which usually means that we'd start the program from lesson 1 the next week, but we're switching out Eiken for a new programs soon. Because of this, everyone just seemed to assume that this was my last week teaching in Sekime. I had most of my students come up and ask if I was transferring this week, and a few people wanted to take pictures with me. I told everyone that I'd still be hear till about mid January at least, but I thought it was kind of funny.

Thursday was the beginning of the Christmas conference! That evening we had a big Testimony meeting with a little over half of the mission. All of the last transfer missionaries (going home soon!) got up and bore their testimonies, including my companion. It was really powerful.

Friday was the main event. It was Christmas conference literally all day long. We had breakfast, and then lots of training, and then a talent show. The training was pretty incredible. I learned a lot, and I know I already said it, but President and Sister Smoot are the best. Then the last couple hours of the Christmas conference was a big missionary talent show! I sang the missionary version of "hello" with Konishi 長老 and that was a lot of fun. There were lots of really great talents, but most of them were just hilarious. It was so much fun to be able to spend time with these other great missionaries. I also got to see my favorite MTC missionaries! Over all, just a wonderful experience.

Finally, this entire week I have been studying with these questions in mind: "What is the gospel?" and "Why do we preach the gospel." Then this morning, I received an email from my wonderful grandmother with a quote from Elder Holland answering these very questions, so I'd like to end by sharing part of it with you.

"The word gospel as we use it in English comes down to us through early scriptural language which meant literally 'good news' or sometimes 'glad tidings'. The 'good news' was that death and hell could be escaped, that mistakes and sins could be overcome, that there was hope, that there was help, that the insolvable was solved, that the enemy had been conquered. The good news was that everyone's tomb could one day be empty, that everyone's soul could again be pure, that every child of God could again return to the Father who gave them life.

"This is the core of the message delivered by every prophet who has ever lived and every Apostle ever called to the work. It is the message we as missionaries are called to declare - it is the message of the angel who came to those unsuspecting Judean shepherds: 'And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy' (or in other words, I bring you the gospel personified). which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.'"

Jesus Christ is the Gospel! He is the Good News! And when you know that He, in reality, suffered and died for you, how could you not want to spread the Gospel? This message brings joy; It brings purpose, and through following Christ's teachings we can become so much greater than who we are or who we think we can be. So, after studying for this past week, I realized that I preach the Gospel, because it's true. I want to share the Gospel; because it has changed my life, and I know that it can change the lives of anyone who listens to it and acts on it. I am a missionary because I have felt God's love, and I want everyone to feel it too!

I love you all and hope you enjoy this Christmas season.

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

Bayless-choro
ベイレス長老




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Japan Kobe Mission
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