Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 63: Devotion 献身

So typically, zone leaders exchange with district leaders once a transfer. However, in this mission, the mission president has a condition where the zone leaders must achieve the `standards of excellence` before they are allowed to do exchanges.

Knowing the district leaders could really benefit from a companion exchange with us, we worked hard this week to achieve the standards.

From the start of the week, we already had enough new investigators, progressing investigators, and investigators with a baptismal date set all planned out. We knew what we really needed to focus on was getting people to church.

Throughout the week, we continued to seek people that could come to church. We needed at least 3 people. We were pretty sure 2 would come. We looked all week, but just couldn`t find anyone who could come.

Finally, we had one more person who said they would come, and she lived close to the church. Everything was looking good.

But, she didn`t show up. It was kind of a bummer. After all that, we still had only 2 investigators at church.

Just a reminder that the Lord`s work gets done in His time and not ours. We couldn`t even get a lady to walk 5 minutes to church in our time. I`m sure she`ll be able to come to church in the future, it just didn`t happen in our time table.

Good time to reflect. Just because you had some temporary set-back, it doesn`t mean you`ve really lost anything. The Gospel still works! that didn`t change. Everything that actually matters is working for your favor.

The Gospel is true! Tell your friends. ^^

Love you all!
Elder O`Reilly

Rode the Ferris wheel. Look how happy I am.

Companion. Sorry I haven`t taken any good pictures! haha.

View from the top. The Ferris wheel is on top of an already-tall building.

A park we did a few lessons at. You can see matsuyama castle on top of the mountain. (haven`t been there yet)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 62: working miracles 奇跡を行いましょう!

So it was a good week. Lots of good things going on.

On Tuesday, we didn`t have a single lesson planned. All our investigators were just too busy! So we just went out with faith that something would happen. In the morning, we went out and not much did. We came back for lunch, and during lunch we felt we should go to this huge park. So we did. The park was basically this giant mountain. As we walked up the hill we started talking to this guy. Kept talking to him all the way up, and at the top we were able to sit down and teach him a lesson. The second that lesson finished, I noticed 3 people walking toward us. So went over to see who they were. Turns out it was a member with 2 of his friends, one of which we met at English class previously. After talking for a couple minutes, the member invited his friends to hear our message. They said ok. Lesson number 2.  Then we went down the mountain and into the city. We were walking down this street, and we run into one of our investigators, who was waiting around for his job to start in a little over an hour. How convenient. We sat down and taught him a lesson. Number 3. Then, we walked a short way over by this mall called `takashimaya`, and my companion felt like he should call one of our other investigators. When he called, the first thing the investigator said was `Hello, I`m in takashimaya`. ....... How convenient. We are right outside. We had a lesson with him as well.

We had a lot of really cool experiences like that this week. Also, a referral from Tokyo came to church this week, and she has already heard most of the lessons and wants to be baptized, so probably she will be a pretty strong investigator. haha.

Something I`ve thought about (not just recently, but over the last couple months) is that we should not ask or pray that we will see miracles, but that we will have the guidance and power required to perform miracles. To have the things we need to complete the task we are allotted. As a missionary, that task entails finding, converting, and baptizing the children of God. How great is that task! and with that great of a task, God is willing to provide the guidance and power required to complete it, if we ask him. I`m so grateful for the chance to serve. I feel myself strengthened everyday.

Love you all.

Elder O`Reilly

Found this random building. Costed 300 yen to get in..... wasn`t much inside. haha.

Us drinking pretend mugi-cha ( its a safe tea) in the cool building.

Found yoda. (in that same building)

Went into this cool museum. it was a museum for some book / newspaper series thing. Called 坂の上の雲 (the cloud over the hill). They were really excited for foreigners to come into their museum. 

Found a studio Ghibli store!! Way cool! Unfortunately, everything was crazy over-priced. haha. Still cool to see.

Dougou hot spring.  The one featured in Studio Ghilbli`s `Spirited Away`. Pretty cool to see it. Also some random Japanese guy.

And the back side.

We visited imabari for district meeting. (usually we stay in matsuyama). I did the translation (into Japanese).  I love translating. haha. They said it was weird at some parts because it was too good. haha.

Me in my suit that I found. Pretty great, seeing as it was free.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 61: Good things come to those who wait 忍耐のある人には、よいものがもたらされる。

Hello everyone.

So as far as meeting people goes it was not such a good week. Everyone was really busy. School`s starting up soon and such.  The people we did meet with are awesome though!

It was Saturday. We didn`t have any new investigators this week yet, and none set up. We were talking to people in downtown Matsuyama, and no one was talking to us. Then, my companion was like, We need to talk to THAT guy. So we chase him down. Turns out, he has some heart trouble and can`t go out and do stuff so much, so he has tons of time. Also, he`s been listening to all sorts of missionaries from different churches. He agreed to meet with us. The next day we go to his apartment, teach him and his friend, and they give us a referral and we get a return appointment with both of them. So, pretty great. Its easy to think that all your efforts are being wasted when no one will listen to you..... but as long as you`re following the spirit, you will have that opportunity to share.

Our strongest investigator came to church this Sunday looking sharp in a suit. He`s doing great. Really has a strong desire to be baptized and do what is right.  His baptismal date is the 13th of October.

Well, this week we already have more appointments set up than last week, and its only Monday. So it should be a good week.

I love you all! and I love this Gospel.

Elder O`Reilly  

This is a lot of the missionaries I came to Japan with! We met up at Mission Leadership Council (so they are all zone leaders or Sister Training leaders)

Getting ready for Zone Training Meeting

I made fried rice again. haha. Recently I`ve been topping it with kimchi and mayo. Don`t say its weird if you haven`t tried it! In Japanese we call that 食わず嫌い。 haha. its way good.

This is what it looks like with kimchi and mayo. haha 

found a POKEMON

Really cool shot.

Sun shine in the rain.

The sun was really cool yesterday

Some things you might see if you take a bus across the island of Shikoku

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 60: ZTM

ZTM is Zone Training Meeting. Its where me and my companion train all the missionaries in the Zone for 3 hours. So that took up basically all our left over time until Friday morning. We spent a lot of time preparing for what we should share, but it turned out really good.

The zone has 17 missionaries in it. 14 of them have less than 21 weeks of experience. yeah. pretty crazy. Most of them are either being trained, or just finished being trained and now they are training. Kind of insane, but they are all really great missionaries, and with some help they`ll do a lot of awesome things.

Things in Matsuyama, despite having not much time this week, are really picking up. We didn`t have any investigators at church last week, but yesterday we had 3 to church. It was great. One of them was a guy we met on the street, invited him to church and he came in his car!  Also on Sunday we taught a lesson to a member`s girlfriend. She has a pretty good friend in the ward, so she should progress well ;)

Let me tell you, the blessings of the Lord are upon us. Its kind of ridiculous how prepared some of our investigators are. They just want to get baptized! So we`ll be working with them and probably see some baptisms really soon.  Also..... this apartment had literally everything I needed. I`ve been wearing this really cheap $1 watch because I broke and lost like 4-5 watches already. I needed a new bag, and I was short a suit. The apartment had exactly those things lying around that my companion didn`t need. Gives me testimony of the scripture that says not to worry about what to wear or eat, it will be given. haha. The suit fits perfectly, kind of crazy. Got tons of compliments during ZTM on my suit. So pretty awesome.

The Lord is making it pretty obvious that He`s looking out for me. I love the Lord and I love feeding his sheep. This truly is His work and it will go on! ^^

Love you all
the church is true
Elder O`Reilly

sorry, no pictures. I forgot my camera at the apartment

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 59: To Matsuyama 松山へ

So, I'm on Shikoku, the island off of the main island. Matsuyama is the biggest city on the island. its pretty big, most of it is really rural, but the center of the city is bigger than the other 5 places I've worked.

The train/bus ride over was LONG! but we got to go over the ocean, which was way cool. Got to the apartment, its pretty new, which is cool. But, there was a typhoon. Which was pretty crazy. But still made it to the apartment fine and my luggage all arrived the first day.

The next day we had a baptismal interview in Kouchi. It is another 2.5 hour bus ride away from Matsuyama. But still the same missionary district. Crazy, right?? So at the beginning of the trip on the high speed bus, we fly into this giant tunnel straight through this hill, and then come out the other side onto a giant bridge over the gap between 2 hills! then go into the next hill and out the other side, and then the next hill and out the other side. At first, it was way cool! Then I was like....... how many hills are there???? and then I was like AHHHH! TOO MANY HILLLS! haha. It was really crazy. In Kouchi, Elder Ogasawara is there, he is the district leader! I was his district leader when I was in Fukuyama, so it will be cool to work with him again.

I'm the most experienced missionary in the zone! SOOO many young missionaries. Its going to be an interesting transfer, I'm just going to work to make sure they all know what they should do with their investigators and such.

As zone leaders, our responsibilities are split. My companion takes care of missionary progression, and I'm responsible for all the investigators in the zone. As a district leader, you have to take care of both, so actually as a zone leader there is a little more breathing room. Actually time to think about everything. haha.

The area has a few investigators, but we'll definitely have to build up our pool. Its a really fun area though and the people are really fun to talk to. With the limited time we've had to work we've got some potential already, and it's looking really good.

Looking forward to an awesome transfer!

love you all,
Elder O'Reilly

Answering Mom's questions:

Companion name: Nicholas Dickson
where from: Henderson , Nevada  (not fountains stake)
how long out on mission: 9th transfer (I'm 11th)
What do you have in common: both took computer classes at BYU
Was Elder Dickson already in this area: yes, for 6 weeks. (I've never whitewashed an area before)

Ward/Branch: branch
How many people: about 30+....?
How many missionaries in the ward: 2
Any current investigators: yes, 2 with baptismal dates. haven't met them yet though. did teach a first lesson yesterday that went really well.

How many elders in your place: 2
bike/car: (is it always bike?): CAR! I have a Porche. Its awesome. Just kidding. its always a bike. I don't have a Japanese driving license. haha. Its a really nice bike though, it has a basket so I don't have to break my back carrying stuff.
How big is your area (looks pretty big on mission map): uhhh...... probably pretty big.
Rural or city: It has city areas. The central part of the city is more city than any of my other areas, but the rest is way rural.

How many missionaries in your zone: 18
How many districts:2

How did you get to your new place: train to Okayama (about 3 hours?), bus to matsuyama (about 2.5 hours?).

One of my favorite investigators in Hirakata. (not allowed to tell names anymore, sorry)

The bridge. It was pretty long.

It was awesome.

My companion. On the bus. haha ^^

Traveling is expensive. It all gets re-imbursed, but I had to use ALL my emergency funds and personal funds to do all the traveling. haha.  Counted it up to see if we had the money the night before. We barely did. like not enough money left over to buy a bottle of soda.

View from the apartment. The Typhoon blew some clouds below the buildings. pretty cool.