Monday, January 27, 2014

A ball of sass and awesomeness

I hope this is a better report than last week.

Honestly I understand the fact my wish of having a easy ascent to the finish line is somewhat a childish thought. I know there isn't an easy path to salvation. the probing question that has been in my mind is how can I better myself so I can help more people down that path. I know it is a change of my talents. It's how can I try harder, how can I try more earnestly, how can I be the best me so I can serve the most effective way. It's not anything against who I am. It's finding the best way I can use my skills.

I will admit Jensen is crazy amazing. He is such a hard worker. He tries to fit the square in the circle slot of one of those baby toys. He pushes and pushes until the toy breaks or until it fits. He is amazing at learning the language. He understands far more than what I do and he is ready to train.

But in my honest opinion, I also have been sent here for the sake of having friends of the companions. Someone needs to make it a good time and even though I have been rough on myself, Elder Jensen has showed me how to be better and overcome that, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

We have worked really hard and spent lots of our time trying to better this area this week. We have had a lot of deeper lesson plans for our investigators. I know if we were able to teach them, we would see a lot of success. But this week we only got to teach 2 lessons.

First with a old investigator named N. She wants to know which church is true so we tried to help but she said she is really busy so that she doesn't have a lot of time from now on.

Secondly we went to teach A. She is awesome. Just a ball of sass and awesomeness. We taught her the spirit world and we taught her the 3 kingdoms. She said her goal was the celestial kingdom so we extended baptism for her to achieve that. She said she wanted to receive senrei or baptism. She said she wanted to believe in our message so we went to give her Alma 32 to read so she can grow her faith. She wouldn't accept it at all. I bore testimony over something that I don't even remember. Cool thing is that after I said it she said okay and took it!

So sometimes we need to get out of a rut of how we do things. One day I remembered that Brother Sherman (our dear friend who served in Nagoya) told me to go to the city office to ask for service. This week we did that. Then we went on a hour long adventure to find the place that offers service in Miyako. We found it! In the winter they don't really do service but they said they will call us soon!

We had this really long contact with this guy this week. He kept saying that God maybe exists... and maybe he doesn't. It was really frustrating. He kept bringing up points that we haven't faced yet in Japan. He asked if God love us, why are people in Africa starving. Why in america so many believe in God but yet their crime rate is high and their marriage rate is low? It was hard to answer because of the language but we said that God tests the faith of those who he thinks can stand hard things. That's why bad things happen to good people. The other one with the America thing was too extremely hard to try to explain and frankly I couldn't come up with a clear simple answer.

So why in America do we have high crime rates? Why are the marriage rates lower? Why does this happen when lots of people believe in God? How can I explain that in simple terms?

Jameson 長老

Monday, January 20, 2014

The gears were turning

I cut my hair today. By myself.... with help on the back and my ears. I'll attach a picture.

This week we didn't have anything happen. We had 4 lessons and one less active visit that didn't really go anywhere. The less active was a member who was baptized and fell away immediately. He forgot everything about the church so we are teaching him little by little again. We wanted to teach him the word of wisdom. He has a lung problem and goes to the doctor a lot. He also smokes a lot....  just drop the pack man. Anyways, we taught it and the lesson was good. What came afterwards was bad. He said he quit the "Christ" because it was too hard. He told us to never come back. Well since there are 2 sets of elders, we will send the other batch to him. ;)

We had a lesson again with Y, the lady who does really deep questions. Well we prepped all week for this lesson. We made a awesome example for the spirit and why it is important. We blindfolded her and told her there was candy in the room. We told her to go find it. She couldn't. The member there was telling her to go the wrong direction. Then with a spray bottle we led her to the candy. After that we taught probably one of the deepest lessons about the plan of salvation. The spirit was so strong there and you could tell the gears were turning. Things were making sense. But we think she was freaking out that she knew this church was true. In order to just pull things apart she threw a fit about some doctrine about Adam and Eve. In the bible and Book of Mormon and other sources, often times it just says Adam. She kept asking for 30 minutes why not Adam and Eve. Why not Adam and Eve. Eventually we said, well when people become married they become one. And not only that, we think that Adam wanted to protect Eve's name just how Heavenly Father protects Heavenly Mother's name.

Things are going well. I ran out of time because I had a lot of emails today. Like 10 more than usual so I rushed through them. Thanks for everything!

Jameson 長老

Monday, January 13, 2014

Teaching and trying to find answers

So the past few weeks have been slow. We haven't able to teach that many people lately. Just when Elder Jensen and I feel like our Japanese has progressed the most and our teaching is the best, we hit this. Don't get me wrong, our Japanese is still terrible. I am having a hard time getting out of a rut that I'm in but we can teach all the lessons just fine. Our lessons lately have been really good. It's just that the lessons have become rare. We only had 3 this past week.

One of which is with Y San! we taught him the gospel of Christ yesterday. We did a lot of examples with him and different ways to explain the message. It was a great lesson. He prayed for us at the end but he said that he won't get baptized until he knows it is true. We said that he needed to pray to find that answer. He said he will just study it out. That is extremely frustrating.

Next was K. She didn't have any religious background before we met but she said she would like to listen. Now, 3 months later, we have barely gotten 4 lessons with her. She is really hard to meet. Because of that Jensen choro wanted to drop her. But I kept defending her saying that her previous lessons were amazing and she really does have heart. So we went to visit her and she wasn't home but she pulled up in her car.... then drove away. We were devastated. We went to another persons house and talked about it. Jensen wanted to drop her again but I said maybe she forgot something. So we went back and she said she just got home but she has time to talk. We taught an amazing lesson of prayer, scripture study, and the importance of the prophet. She said that she believes that Joseph smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true. I gave her a prayer rock like kids have in primary. She said she will try her best to read and pray every night but right now coming to church is a little difficult.

Last lesson this week was with Y. She is a old investigator that we picked up through the area book. She believes that Joseph smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true. She has a deep faith in Christ but her view of the atonement is a little different. She was speaking really fast but I got the basic message of it. (Because we taught the plan of salvation to her) and she started to go on a rant. She would get baptized but her only problem with the message is really deep doctrine that Elder Jensen and I cant explain. It has to deal with why all the people can be saved, but they can't dwell with God. Well we could explain it but not in Japanese. That is extremely deep and how the atonement saves them but not gives them celestial glory. Other than that we gave her a promise at the end. We said we aren't perfect teachers and that we can't answer her questions but Christ's doctrine can and that doctrine can be found in the Book of Mormon. Remember when I doubt, go to the prophets and the Book of Mormon. Then the answer is in God's hands.

We got a recent missionary fuufu and they helped us during that lesson. we need member lessons with that lady. Honestly we would like member presents for every lesson. They help out so much, especially as we are young missionaries.

Being a young missionary I've been trying to figure myself out. What do I need to do to progress. Why did this or that happen to me. Why have been sent to Japan. Why can't I progress as well as others or why am I having this trial.  I'm searching so stinking hard to progress. I can't find it. I'm pressing so hard. I'm trying so hard in prayers. I'm trying to use up every drop of my energy to find that answer. Of course the answer won't be a one answer thing. It will be little things that come over time. But how do I use that? What is my purpose as a missionary? To invite others to Christ. How do I do that? Well... Im still trying to fully figure that out. And I don't know how long it will take to fully comprehend that either.

Until next week.

Love Jameson 長老

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bento boxes and spiritual bombs

Tuesday was transfer calls. We didn't get our calls until 8:45 pm. I'm staying with Elder Jensen but Elder Nara was transferred and we have another bean here in Miyako. His name is Elder Allen. Now all the missionaries are American.

I was a baby for some reason when Elder Nara left. We couldn't really communicate all that well until this past transfer but we have been companions 6 times because of splits and companion exchanges. He left and wrote me a broken English and Japanese note in my bye bye book. He said that I was his best friend. I was surprised to read that. I mean I just hugged him and was kind to him. But yeah I miss that guy. Not only that but I had a lot of respect for him. He could cook so fast! Us Americans were having a hard time cooking for all of us. Our dinner/lunch time increased by 30 minutes because of our inexperience. I typically make the idea of what we are eating and the others make it. I help too but I think about what we will eat during the day.

So this week was long but something changed with Elder Jensen and I when this transfer came around. For some reason as soon as Nara left, something switched in both of us. Unfortunately since it was new years, everyone was busy so we weren't able to get much done. But we had a great time nonetheless.

For example we ran into this lady on Thursday that we started to teach the second lesson. It was at the door step and we said we didn't want to take her time but we wanted to talk to her more. She said "come on in, I have some time!" So we went in and taught her 2 son's, daughter, and her the plan of salvation. It was a great lesson. We probably had the most unity ever teaching that lesson. It flowed so well! Not only that but we got around to hobbies and I told them I wanted to become a famous singer. They asked me to sing for them so I sang Nearer My God To Thee in English to them. That scared me so bad but it was fun. We asked them to be baptized and they said they would think about it.

Y was the guy we found a long time ago and the guy we wanted to do the 12 days of Christmas with. He was on vacation this past week so we went to visit them and we asked him how the Book of Mormon reading was. He said it was great. We asked him what was his favorite scripture. He said all of them. I worked really hard to find him good scriptures so I'm glad that paid off.

So elder Jensen and I realized we have a lot of finding we can do so we decided to start to find more so we can teach more. When we were finding.... we actually ran into a less active that hasn't seen missionaries for a long time. She opened the door and said "it's been a while." I freaked out and said "you said it's been a while?" she said "yeah its been a while!" I then guessed she was a less active. But then she shook our hands. Man she had a vice grip so I thought "there is no doubt she used to be a great member." She is a great member! She made us bento boxes for our break the fast! She also said that she thinks she needs to come back to church she just can't because she works on Sundays but she is always home on Saturday. So maybe we can get her to switch her days around. She is completely amazing. She is reading the Liahona online. She knew about the age drop for missionaries. She even brought up fast Sunday to us. I completely forgot that it was fast Sunday. I have hioe she will come back.

So yesterday we got the bento boxes from this less active. Her name is like the Smith of Miyako. We went to a member's house to teach her son who received lessons a while ago but he moved. Well he came back so we are trying to get him baptized :)  We went to their house.... and in Japanese culture at the beginning of the year they have this party for 20 year olds. It celebrates them becoming "adults" and is kinda like a graduation party for Americans. People come, leave gifts or money, eat food and leave. So we go to their house and the oldest daughter turned 20 so they had a party. They invited us in. We ate food, talked to lots of people, talked to the son, had a great time. Then as we were about to leave, one of our investigators that I haven't seen since October walks in. I freak out, she freaks out, and we started to talk. She said that she has been extremely busy and she is sorry but she wants to talk and meet soon. As I'm talking to her, the member`s husband (who at this time is more hammered than nails) grabs Elder Jensen by the hand and drags him to the adult male table. I was too into the conversation that I didnt see this. Some other person called out to me (this person could speak English pretty well) and said "Jameson Jameson! Your friend is over here! " I look over to see Elder Jensen sitting at the drunk table and the husband waving me over. So we go and sit there and they keep offering us stuff to drink. We just keep saying water. Then they start randomly talking about WW2 and getting really sad. But they kept saying how cute we were. Elder Jensen turned to me and said we need to get out of here. I agreed. So what he did is he slipped the phone behind him, and behind his back I set an alarm to go off in a minute. I turned the sound all the way up as well. So the alarm went off and we said we needed to go. It was super hilarious but man that was crazy. Drunk people are hilarious.

So recently I've been having dreams that I won't receive a baptism on my mission. I've been pretty upset because of those dreams. But last night I had another one of those dreams. So during my personal prayer this morning I asked why I'm having these dreams and to have them please pass because I really want a baptism. 30 seconds into personal study I was reading 1st Corinthians. verse 17 it says "for Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." I was like dang! The spiritual bomb was just dropped. And I had random fears of teaching recently and in the next chapter Paul says how he was in awful fear and trembling while he was teaching. I thought, if an amazing person is scared, then this is somewhat normal. But he pressed through it.

Yep this is all I can really remember right now so i hope its good!

Jameson 長老

NOTE: On the day we emailed Jarom, we were in the middle of winter storm Ion. We were expecting HIGH temperatures on Monday to be -13 with wind chills at -30 to -50 degrees! This was Jarom's response: Its' still pretty warm here, sometimes it gets a little cold and we complain about it.... but then we realize it is still in the 60's. Haha