Monday, January 28, 2013

日本の冒険!Week 28: Trust 信頼

So I`ve begun to change my thought process a little.  In my studies I have discovered a few things. First of all, we don`t know a lot about the spirit world. Secondly, much about angels in general is pretty vague. While the fullness of the gospel is restored, (the gospel being Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end) beyond that, we don`t know a ton.

What we can do is work from what we have. It just so happens that the phrase repeated more often than any other scripture is seek and you shall find. Curiously enough, it is used the most often in D&C, after most of the main revelations, like the Book of Mormon, were already revealed.

It also states in Article of Faith #9, God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

I don`t think that these examples were all listed in modern sources just for the use of the Modern Prophet.

If we ask in the spirit, and with faith, we can have great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God made known unto us.  And when I say `we`, I mean you. I mean me. Just regular people. Just Children of the Almighty God.  If we were to ask in Faith, we would be endowed with the Power of God. The power to do anything. We could become as Nephi (in 3rd Nephi), to whom angels appeared daily to minister to him. We could speak with such power that no one would be able to disbelieve our words. (also 3rd Nephi)

Why is it then that I can`t do those things? Well, time to build my faith some more! Is it really all that much harder to move a mountain than to receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost? I don`t think so. Any difficulty is simply a perceived difficulty.

So, the way my thought process is changing is really just realizing who I am. I am a Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Ok...... cool...... what does that mean? I am a Servant of the Almighty God, a Defender of Righteousness among the greatest enemies to the forces of Evil, a warrior endowed with divine power from God to the destroying of the Adversary`s reign in the Vineyard of the Lord. Ok. That is a cooler title. Sometimes it is better to think of it like that, because that is what it truly is. The forces of the Devil are real, and they are deeply embedded in the world. My companion and I alone hold the authority for Convert Baptisms in this area, in which tens of thousands of people live. Apart from us, there is no escape from the devil`s wicked grasp. He is destroying families and bringing people down to an awful destruction. There is no time to be weak in this war of eternal consequences!

Well, I rather enjoyed that rant. I think I gained some things from it as well. Gosh, I miss being able to type all the time. I don`t have time to write this all on paper. So it is good to get it all down somewhere. This week was good. Taught 2 new investigator lessons! Both to previous investigators. One was found in the area book. Good first lesson, but it was just at her front door. Kind of unfortunate.  The other was a pretty cool story. So we were knocking some doors late one night, and one answer, and they say, Oh, the Latter- day Saint missionaries!! Long time no see! Come in!  ..... woah. ok. So they were investigators FORTY years ago, investigating as a young family. They are now in their 70s but still remember the missionaries names, that the center of the church is in Utah, and even a primary song! woah! So we will visit them again this week.

Funny story of the week. We knocked on a door. Heard some arguing behind the door about whether they should open it. Saw a guy look out the window at us (probably about 70 yrs old?) and then eventually, after like 5 minutes, he opens the door. We explain we are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ and his wife says, We`re ok! ( a common refusal in Japan) but he just says `what was that??` and I say it again, slower. He says `Oh..... that is absolutely not going to work here!` haha. It was funnier in Japanese. He told us, `well, if I get another chance I`ll think about it, but for today,` and he held up an `X`    `no. There may be another chance, and maybe there won`t, but today is no.`  haha. ok. Next time.

Well, I`m going to expect big things this week, so you all expect the same. ^^

Love you all!
Elder O`Reilly

OK. so we went to this new buffet place for district meeting with the district. OH MY GOSH BY FAR BEST FOOD OF MY LIFE. it has everything. Yakiniku (pictured here, just a huge wall of raw meat you take and bring back to the table and cook), sushi, fried noodles, rice stuffs, ice creams of every flavor, Takoyaki, the list goes on. Pretty cheap too, when it is lunch.

I had a few plates just for sushi. Good stuff.
Just open the cabinet and take as much as you want. my first plate had like 20 or so on it haha.

The other Elders in the district, Elders Rasmussen and Ogasawara.

All you can eat cotton candy as well. Like they really had everything.
I am not very good at making cotton candy.

                                 Sorry I`m always taking food pics. haha. It is the only time I am just sitting there.
                                 I`ll try to remember to take a good picture this week. haha. I`ll probably forget. :P

It all melted by the time we left though. Pretty surprising though.
It has actually snowed a few times, but this is the first stick.
Snow is better than rain, you don`t get soaked. So it is warmer. ^^

Any Zelda fans out there? When we rode by this on our bikes late at night, it looked just like the
grave yard in Ocarina of Time! It was awesome! haha.  I don`t think I`m going to pull any
gravestones and jump down into any ancient tombs though.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

日本の冒険!Week 27: Overcoming Adversity 逆境を克服

So. This week. What changed. Well. Let me tell you.

Not a whole lot. As I strive to always improve myself, seek humility, and rely on the Lord I have found strength. Yet I suppose I am not quite prepared for what the Lord has in mind for me, because I`m not doing it yet.

I am still not a good conversationalist or a powerful teacher. I know that the Lord knows that though. And he called me because of those things, not in spite of them. He calls us to this work because of our imperfections. He calls `the weak things of the world` because they have to rely on him. Well, that I am a `Weak thing of the World` I am sure. So I suppose I am fit to `Thrash the Nations`, specifically Japan. Alright. Now what exactly does thrashing a nation mean and how does one go about doing that.....? haha.

Well, we had interviews this week. In Okayama. First train ride in like 3 weeks. It was good to ride a train again. I talked to President about it a little, and he said many missionaries hit a wall, on about their 5th transfer. Which is the transfer I am on. He said just to make sure I am doing all I can do and just keep pressing forward, and I`ll come out on my 7th transfer OK. uhh..... I wish he had said on my 6th transfer ok.... but he said 7th. haha. Well, I`ll try hard to come out of it before then. :P

I really want to teach someone. A family to teach would be awesome. But anyone would be great. Our investigators we`ve taught in the past we either can`t contact or they can`t meet with us for various reasons. We did have a lesson of sorts this week, but....... the guy we taught doesn`t focus very well..... haha. So pretty tricky to teach much really....

Well, I`m preparing for another district meeting this Friday  and a companion exchange. Lots of stuff to remember as District Leader still, haha. District meeting will be at night, the Zone Leaders are going to be visiting all the districts and doing some training during half of the meeting. (the other half is mine to plan)

Well, love you all. I know that the Lord is preparing me for great things. I am closer to the spirit each day. I sometimes feel the adversary working at me, and he wants to destroy me. Well, if the Lord didn`t have anything in store for me then he wouldn`t want me destroyed so bad. Regardless of what the adversary attempts, it is nothing compared to the power of God, which fills me more and more each day. Nothing can stop this great work from moving forward. D+C 1

Love you all!

Elder O`Reilly

Only 1 picture this week...
Ramen! gooooood stuff.
We went with the priesthood in the branch, and they bought it for us.
 Pretty awesome branch.

Monday, January 14, 2013

日本の冒険!Week 26: Seeking Power through Faith 信仰を通して力を求める

Well. I wish I could tell you this week I experienced a vast change as far as success rates go. But I suppose it was not in God`s plan for this week. What I can tell you is God knows how to strengthen his servants. I think I will share with you my letter to president this week.

Well, it was another pretty rough week. We worked hard, we sought specific revelation, we strove to improve our efforts in every way we could think. We are preparing during our studies to teach the family that we will eventually find, but we just aren`t finding them yet.

It is interesting to note however, that during the hardest time of my mission so far, I have experienced perhaps the greatest strength to my faith. God works in mysterious ways, and he knows how to strengthen his servants I suppose. My testimony is stronger, my resolve is firmer, and my desires are focused on my purpose.

While becoming a greater person and missionary is great and all, I really hope that we will be able to participate in the work of God a little more in depth this week. I feel more and more prepared to do whatever it is he has prepared for me everyday. I know that God will recognize that preparation and bless us with a family to teach.

We are beginning to get family potential investigators here and there. It has really been our focus this transfer and last, and so we spend a large deal of our time talking to families. The next step is just finding a family who we can set up a lesson time with!

Well, big things are ahead.

Just think. Knock on a door. A stay at home Mom opens the door, with young children around her. The family lacks what is more important than any other obtainable thing in this world, the Gospel. The truth of a Father in Heaven who loves you. The constant support of the Holy Ghost to guide and protect you. The feeling of peace and safety that come when you know you can live together with your family forever. What would you tell her? How would you begin to describe the Joy and Truth that that family lacks? Where would you begin? It is something I think about all the time. I am in this circumstance hundreds of times a week. Sometimes I only have a few seconds. Sometimes a few minutes. How do I convey such a pure, beautiful truth in such a short time? How can I instill a desire to learn more about the greatness of our message in a few short minutes?

As I strive to answer this question, I have felt that Spirit direct my thoughts toward things that are important to understand when undertaking such a task. I knew, of course, that if a missionary has prepared adequately, that the spirit will fill the missionary with words to the `convincing of men`, but I never knew it could be a gradual thing. I feel closer to the spirit than before, and I can tell more of my words are influenced by the spirit than before. I find myself testifying with more power, teaching with application, and preaching with more confidence than before.

I am so grateful for this Gospel. Is it not the spawn of all truth? the origin of all blessings?  It was so easy to take it for granted when I was surrounded by people who knew the truth, experienced the light, tasted the fruit. But out here, it is so different. The people are great, very kind, humble and gracious. But they are missing what is greatest above all other things. The plain and simple truths that I have. How great is my calling.

Well, as I stated in my letter to president, big things are ahead. I ask for your prayers in that I`ll be able to teach a family the gospel. I`ll shoot a prayer your way in return. ^^

Thank you all for your love and support.

Love you all

Elder O`Reilly

Hey! a poster! 心から神を信じなさい。 Believe in God with all your heart.
 There is no sign of who put in there or anything,
but I saw these posters in Joyo as well.
 Different sayings though. No church name is on it.

We passed this cool demolition site one day. Way cool.
The thing on the end is like crazy powerful pliers.
 It just crushed things and cut off large sections of cement.

A large piece of cement in mid-air

At service they asked us to do calligraphy.  uhhh..... don`t know how
 this helps anyone, but OK! haha. It was my first shot at calligraphy.
  They were pretty impressed. haha. This one says 希望, hope.

信仰が山も動かす Faith moves even mountains.
A famous Japanese proverb. Pretty cool, right?
 Probably from ancient Japanese Nephi.

A package from Trevor this week:
A member's husband in Joyo made this plane from a model kit
and sent it to us. We got the package this week! So cool!
Thanks Kosaka! ^^

Monday, January 7, 2013

日本の冒険!Week 25: Doctrine and Covenants 6:34 教義と聖約6:34

New years in Japan. Well, as a missionary that doesn`t really mean anything. We just do the same stuff as always. Except it is a little bit trickier around new years.

New years is definitely a Buddhist holiday in Japan. So people we talked to were a lot more Buddhist then they usually were. It was rather difficult to get anyone to talk to us for any length of time at all and all of our investigators were too busy with new years to meet with us, even though we tried several times to meet with each one.

My companion and I were left with a lot of time to find people this week. We spent the entirety of the week devoted to finding people, in fact.  I had a lot of time to reflect on my purpose as a Son of God, as a Missionary, and as a Disciple of Jesus Christ. I had much time reflecting on what it is I need to improve, what I am lacking, where I am placing my own interests before God`s. God has prepared people in this area that I am working in. Why can`t I find them? Aren`t they still prepared even though it is a new year?

God`s ways are not our ways. He knows the beginning and the end, and everything that happens in between. He knows what is best for his children in the area I serve. Upon reflecting on what I need to improve for quite some time, I drew upon the conclusion that perhaps I have not let God prepare me to teach the people he is preparing for me. The Kobe mission, as I have stated before, has received specific revelation for the number of elect people in each area. As the statement that is repeated more than any other statement in the scriptures reads, If you ask, it will be given you. Our area has received revelation that most of the 75 prepared in our area are Families. 56 of them. Therefore, my thoughts reflected on the greatness of my Family, of all I have because of them, and the tremendous blessings my family receives because of this gospel. I thought of the Love that our Heavenly Father holds for each family within the Family of God.  That love surpasses the human capacity to comprehend. If only I could figure out how to share that love with the people that I meet each day. I began to prepare through my studies for how I could share this Love with the Families in the area.

While in the midst of my ponderings,  we were working just last night in a young neighborhood.  I knocked on a door. A little girl opened the door with her little sister right next to her and her Mom in the back. I began to speak to them, but instead of any of the usual things that I said at doors, the Spirit filled my mouth with things I have never talked with people about. I testified of the greatness of the blessings my family has been blessed with and bore witness that she could live with her family forever. I felt that my words had touched her. I felt the Holy Ghost carry the message to her heart. She was a little startled and couldn`t promise a specific time, but she didn`t turn down the message or the invitation to church.

As we trust in the Spirit, day after day, and truly seek to gain power through it, and to have opportunities to teach with the Spirit, they will be given to you.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve and for all the blessings that I have. I am glad for the opportunity to share these blessings with all those I come in contact with. I can easily recognize the change my mission is having on me, and I am so grateful for it.

Love you all.

Yeah the snow got pretty intense.
Nothing like a Utah winter storm though. nothing stuck.

Me before leaving one night (P-day, we leave for work at 6).
Amidst my ponderings.

A building we pass a lot.

Got to love those big bridges. ^^

Me being epic with the bridge thing

Woah. This is too awesome or something.

Oh, and we worked by the ocean one day. It is actually not far away.

us by the ocean. I`ve gotten pretty good at taking pictures of myself. haha. ^^

my new facebook profile pic. maybe? haha

The bridge at night

SNOW! what?!?! There was a crazy snow flurry on Thursday!

We worked with Brother Jason all day Thursday! He is way cool!
He is the other foreigner in the Branch, from the Philippines.
He speaks English and Tagalog and pretty good Japanese.

New neighbors moved in next to us, a young Family! They brought us this present. Yeah, cleaning supplies! it was way nice. We got them a present too. We were hoping they would ask us about what we do in Japan or something, because we aren`t supposed to directly contact our neighbors in missionary efforts, but they didn`t. haha.
Maybe they will eventually.