As the title says, a good chunk of this week was spent in Okayama, for lots and lots of meetings! One great thing about living in inaka (country) is the fact that to get to a conference on Saturday morning, you get to leave at 2:00 in the afternoon on Friday to get there in time! The bus drivers and train conductors from our different areas are reallyyy familiar with all of us missionaries at this point. It`s always fun though- we had a missionary conference, where we learned how to use our new area book app. Every area has a book which contains the records of everyone that has met with the missionaries in the past 10 or so years- these books are huge and full of LOTS of papers and different records and people and addresses. And now, we`re going to be putting them all into one convenient application on our iPads! It`ll be really handy once all of the information is entered into the iPad. The process of going through all of the records and filling out all of the information on every person met in the last two years, however... Well, we`ll just be taking that one day at a time, and all of the missionaries that come into the field after us can be thankful! That`ll be a good chunk of time out of the next few weeks, but hey- it`s for a great cause. Missionary work will be much more effective from here on out, and i`m super excited!
After that, I had an opportunity to attend the BEST (and only) priesthood meeting that i`ve ever been to. The theme was `The Vision for Missionary Work` and all missionaries were able to attend:) It was fantastic. Our stake president talked about Doctrine&Covenants 4, which is a well known section among missionaries. I`ll share two verses in particular that he talked a lot about:
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
As he read these scriptures, he emphasized that it doesn`t say `if you are a missionary, ye are called to the work`- If we love God and want to serve Him, then we are called. We are to do our best to do our part in this `marvelous work and wonder`. And as we do, we bring blessings not only to others, but also to ourselves- in fact, we bring `salvation to [our] soul`. Not "to the less active`s soul", or "to the investigator`s soul"- whether or not our work brings salvation to someone else`s soul is up to God, and up to them of course. We are called to do our best-to serve with our heart, might, mind, and strength- and the rest is up to God.:) But one thing that is certain is that we will be blessed for our efforts. I can see that in my life right now, and I know that those blessings of happiness are not limited only to missionaries!
Going along with that theme perfectly, during the sunday session of Stake conference, many people talked about light- specifically the Light of Christ. There are many ways we can "thrust in our sickles", and one of the easiest ways is to let our example be a light to those around us. If members work to have the light of the gospel in their lives, other people will be able to see it. Others around them may not recognize what it is at first that makes members different, but they`ll wonder and want that light for themselves. So everyone- read your scriptures, say your prayers, repent every day, and do what you can to be a light to those you come into contact with every day:) You`ll be doing your part in this marvelous work and a wonder, and you`ll be happier because of it. Promise.
The Church is true, and it brings the most peace and happiness in this crazy life! I know that to be 100% true.
皆さん、愛しています！(love you all!)
1. Kid's day is coming up soon, so the trains (or this one anyways)
are all decorated. Also, we're so far out in the countryside at this
point that the trains are only one car long, and we almost have the
train to ourselves. よーし!
2&3&4 took a detour on the two hour ride home from stake conference. I
love Japan and all of these beautiful places! We're with the stake
president's family, and some of their friends. (Fun fact: The two men
on the end are our branch's first counselor, and branch president. I
love Kurayoshi branch!)