Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nothing can replace the place he has in my heart

This week was pretty great! We had the zone leaders come down on Tuesday and we got some work done. In the past 2 transfers I have not given out a Book of Mormon. This past week we handed out 3. Its going good here. On Tuesday Elder Knighton went with Arai choro who taught O San and U San. I don't really know what happened with O but she is interested in health. U was awesome. She said since Sunday she prayed twice, both times she felt great afterwards, almost like a clean feeling. She said that if she continues to keep feeling this way, she might start to believe.

Elder Zushi and I went to E San. She was pretty awesome. Again she has a lot of interest in religion. Last week she said she read the story of Job and cried. So we talked about how we can overcome trials. We gave her a Book of Mormon and asked her to find ways to overcome trials.

We didn't get to meet Liu this week but he is doing good. We are sending him texts to build relationship and get to know him. On Wednesday we met this lady who opened the door and gasped. She said that we looked like angels from God. It was rally strange because she quickly asked for our number and closed the door. We don't know what happened but hopefully she will call.

Elder Zushi told me to start calling older contacts in our phones to see if they have interest. We set up an appointment with T. She is a Christian. We went and asked her how her meetings with missionaries went in the past. She said the Book of Mormon was too difficult. We asked her is she knew the purpose of the Book of Mormon. She said she didn't so it lead right into the first lesson. But she said she won't leave the side of her sister. Her and her sister go to a church that is over an our away. Where her sister goes, she follows. So its a hard situation.

We once again met with U San on Friday with a member. We taught about the 3 main ways of building a testimony: prayer, scripture study, and coming to church. It went a little long and we feel bad about that but she again expressed her liking of prayer. She prays for her children and family. When she prays before bed, she wakes up feeling better (she said its hard to wake up but when she prays, its easy.) We have another lesson with her on Tuesday.

Recently we have been trying to set up appointments so that we can bring members along. It is so amazing what happens when a member is involved. The investigator progresses so much.

This week we started to sit down with some members to help build personal mission plans. So we drew out sections out of preach my gospel to help them. One member said, "the level of this plan is too high for normal people. Maybe for missionaries, but its too hard for us." So I want to help them find their own ways to dendo. What are some ways that you can give service to people, or share your talents? That's what I want to help them do.

This past week I have been slightly been put off with some of the things people say to us at the doorstep. They say "it is no relation" I ask them why they think it has no relation. They say something along the lines of "I'm not part of your church or religion." "Go somewhere else" or "Why are you here? I'm not your religion." The other day a lady said "I'm not part of your religion sorry. I'm Buddhist"  It makes me so sad sometimes. I love these Japanese people but other than these excuses, they have some of the worst excuses I have ever heard in my life. They just reject what seems unnatural to them. One man last night was leaving his apartment and we caught him in time to give him an English flyer. Before I stopped my first sentence, he said "I'm rejecting you."  I thought in my head, "man you didn't even let me finish. You don't even know what I'm trying to offer you. Why are you rejecting something you didn't even take the time to listen about?" With that I said,"Why? It's just free English? We are trying to help people." He looks over to Knighton choro (who gave him 2 thumbs up which was really funny actually) then the guy started to say how he actually has interest in English and how he wants to work for an American company. Its ridiculous sometimes people just dont take the time.

With that, I want to tell you about how I took the time to read a less active (who got baptized and quickly reverted back to his weird alien religion) man's pamphlet about his church. Its called the raelian movement. Down to the basics of it, its pretty close to what a lot of main Christian churches believe.... except that instead of God and the priesthood, its aliens and technology. It takes bible words and tries to warp it to seem like it makes sense with the church. What was the thing that hurt me the most is when he handed me the flyer and said "This is the true messiah" in English. I went home and held my Book of Mormon and said in my head "What has this man done for me? Has he died and paid his blood for my sins and my soul? Does he know my every need and desire? Has he felt what I have felt?" It made me realize that no man can ever replace my savior. Nothing can replace the place he has in my heart.

Elder Jameson

Monday, May 19, 2014

I felt this fuwah feeling

So hello my friends!

This week had some interesting tweaks and turns.

At first it started off great! We went off to go visit an investigator with the intent to meet his mom. his mom is a Filipinojin who loves Christ. We were able to meet her and she was just so open. she immediately let us in and sat us down. We talked and built a great relationship and have an appointment for today. I'm super excited!

So on Tuesday we went a little further outside the city, maybe a 25 minute bike ride. We found this massive apartment complex and many houses around it. We think not many missionaries have been out this direction so we put that down as a side note to return back to it. We had a lesson with U san. Man I just love her and her family so much. Her daughters and son are so stinking cute. We taught a little bit of the plan of salvation and taught about God's love. She seems to recognize it really well. We set another appointment for Friday (later that week).

Wednesday we went to visit some less actives but as I was biking, a huge explosion came from behind me. My tire literally exploded. The tread and tube. There was a huge hole in both of them so the day was spent getting that fixed and then a lesson with L Z the Chinese man. We texted him the day before asking if we could meet. He said yes but I have something to tell you. I want to get baptized in a different church. We just sat there in awe. In my head I kept saying "what did we do wrong? What could have we done differently?" Then the idea came, what is his understanding of the Book of Mormon? So we taught him and asked him what he thought. He said he didn't understand it at all. We basically taught him the whole first lesson over again but he said he basically wants to become Christian. That's it. It doesn't matter by what means. But he does like the Protestant church because it was reformed. I asked him "what about the church that has been restored?" He said well I don't like the Book of Mormon. I like the bible. I thought in my head, wait... before you came to Japan, you didn't know anything about the bible and saying that you don't like new things is slightly ironic. He said a lot of things that were against each other and frankly it was hard to not be frustrated. At the end I challenged him to read it and see. We want to re-review the first lesson but put the focus on priesthood.

Thursday was spent buying a new tire, fixing my bike, and planning. We didn't have time to dendo. But we did get to eat lunch with a member and her friend and her friends daughter. It was awkward to say the least. She tried her best to bring her friends to us to teach but we think she thinks that she only needs to bring her friends to us and that's all the members need to do. They need to fellowship and prepare the friends. But I am grateful to receive the first referral ever from a member on my mission. Its kinda sad that it took 11 months to get that.

Friday we met with a less active and U. The less active has I think cancer so he can't come to church but he knows all the missionaries since 1979. When they first opened Iizuka. The two less active missionaries in our ward are on that list. Then we talked to U. We asked her what she thought of the message. Then the arrow of pain came. She said she originally didn't have interest and still doesn't but she said she would continue to listen. It hurt a lot since we had hope in her.

Saturday we had training in Fukuoka so we didn't have much time to do anything.

Sunday I was struggling during church because the first counselor basically tells us to always work harder and honestly tells us things that we already knew. He sometimes criticizes the missionaries because we are so young but he is also very kind at times. We are trying our best to do the things president asks us but sometimes... its just difficult when members won't help us. I asked him (since he lives far) to visit some of the less active near him. He said it was completely impossible. and walked off. I love him but he is so difficult to work with. Not only that I was feeling really down because the past half week. It was good but then turned sour. During the sacrament I just sat there and pondered. I had this feeling of everything was going to be okay.

We went home and I listened to some talks that Elder Jensen gave me. They were 2009 April general conference talks. Both stressing things of we are not alone, we can do it kind of talks. I felt better so we headed out the door and for some reason I was just filled with hope. We had a feeling to visit a former investigator. She wasn't there but outside her apartment there is a business that sells apartments. We saw a couple pull in the parking lot with an American truck. I stopped them and started to talk about their car, which led into why they were there. They said they were either recently married or soon to get married, I forget the details but it allowed for a natural intro to eternal marriages. The girl, as expected, love the idea. The man wasn't turned off, but they listened and they might contact us.

We ran into some kids later. I remembered Jesus saying "suffer the little children to come to me" so we talked to them for a bit. It would be weird to see American men talking to kids so we walked away but they followed us up 5 flights of stairs as we housed an apartment. We sang abc's for them and had fun.

We ran into a Jehovah's Witness. She shoved chirashis into our hands but wouldn't exchange anything. I think it's funny that religions don't take time to listen to others. I try to do that for others because I know I would want that if they did it to me, but that is kinda frustrating as well. She said she was in the middle of dinner so she was good but she didn't say she wasn't good for us returning again :)

Lastly, our first member present lesson in over 3 months. Probably one of the best lessons I've had on my mission. It was short and sweet but super powerful and left the investigator feeling better. We met with U again and we brought our branch president along with us. We talked about the Holy Ghost and prayer but the focus of it all was that it is a real thing that we can receive answers to. All in all she opened up and asked some amazing questions as we shared Enos' story from the Book of Mormon. Lastly, after we told her the feelings and promptings she can receive from prayer, we challenged her to pray before she went to bed. She said she was scared for the feeling she would get but we told her again that it would be okay. We had our branch president pray at the end. It was a wonderful prayer. After we said amen (U said amen too :)) she said "woah, I felt this fuwah feeling" (motioning to her heart swelling). The branch president said "That's great. That was the Spirit." And I turned to her and said "See it is real. That shows us that God loves us all"

Things are great!

Elder jameson

Monday, May 12, 2014

If we put work into our prayers, God will answer

Hello friends!

It was great being able to Skype my family!!! They are the best. After I hung up I just sat there and said "man that went by fast." It was sad to say goodbye but I'll be able to talk to you soon again!

Again relating it to the Savior, when he died I think he felt the sorrow for the people he was leaving. He knew where he was going but they didn't know where he was going. I feel that every transfer. It hurts leaving people you love.

Anyways this week was short because we did a lot of stuff for Lee Choro and getting him ready to transfer. (Elder Lee was transferred and left Jarom and Elder Knighton all alone in Iizuka.)

We tried to meet a lot of our investigators. We had some pretty bad timing the whole week. One's house started to break so he had to fix it. Another investigator's child got in trouble at school so a teacher was talking to the mom.

We did get to meet some Potential Investigators this past week. One named E. She has interest in religion and apparently her husband knows all about Christianity. So we hope we can teach them and bring them closer to their Heavenly Father. When we visited her she said that she read the story of Job in the bible and she cried. We taught her that God tests us sometimes and if we can pass the test, we not only become better people but God will bless us more. She seemed to really recognize the lesson.

We met with a less active named Y. He has been less active for about 14 years or so but he comes to church when the missionaries pick him up. We had a lesson with him about prayer. We asked him what prayer meant to him. He said that because God didn't help him find a job he didn't believe prayer works. That frustrated me because he sits at home playing video games all day. How does he expect God to help him when he sits around all day? Then he said because of all the wars and famines in this world, God doesn't answer prayers. I became more increasingly frustrated, mostly because every time I went to address his question he would interrupt me with saying the same thing. But then Elder Knighton, in his broken Japanese, bore a wonderful testimony that if we put work into our prayer, God will answer. Then Y started to open up more saying that he was bullied as a kid and thought about suicide many times. I shared experiences of friends and my own. I just hope we can show him his importance as a child of God.

We met this lady a while back with Mabuchi. Her name is Y. She expressed concern about her children and how she wanted to see them grow and succeed. So we related that to how God wants us to grow and succeed so he gave us prophets. We can go back next week :)

We found this amazing cute family named U. The kids are so amazingly adorable. The mom had interest in religion when she was young so she was pretty open about religion. She asks awesome questions. We have an appointment on Tuesday. Things look good.

We met this younger woman in the same area. She is a soka gakkai member. (Soka Gakkai is a Buddhist movement. You can find more HEREThat is so incredibly difficult to deal with. They never listen to our message. She was so young and it hurt me to see that because of her religion she wouldn't even listen to ours. A lot of people say that religion brain washes people a lot of the time. but I don't think that is true. People have their choice. On the other hand, that religion teaches people strictly not to listen to other religions. I felt bad for her and I didn't want to let it go. I don't know how but she agreed to a return appointment. Hopefully things will turn out well.

We over all have been finding lots of younger families. It is really what this area needs. I know that Heavenly Father loves all His children and provides a way for everyone to return. We all just need to look for those opportunities.

Elder Jameson

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Building member missionary plans

This week has been weird since we had a junkai with Chikushino Elders.

We taught A again. When we got there she said "Oh some of your church members came by the other day. They gave me this!" we looked at it and it was a Jehovah Witness book. Apparently we didn't explain the different churches all that well. We taught that and showed her a video on mormon.org (on her cell phone we looked it up.)

On Wednesday we taught our Chinese investigator L J. He is so hard to teach because his Japanese and English are not great. SO we write in kanji on a board as we teach him. He is earnestly seeking for truth and hopefully he will recognize it soon.

On Friday we went to Chikushino to junkai with the elders there. Elder Lee went with the experienced elder... I had two junior companions. This was scary to me because I have to take charge of all the contacts and guide the junior companions. It turned out to be a great day. We didn't have bikes so we went near a train station. Not exactly by it, but up the street. We met lots of amazing people. The sad thing is, within an hour of streeting there, we handed out a Book of Mormon. It's sad because that is the first Book of Mormon I've handed out in 2 transfers. It hurt to hear Knighton say "yeah my first Book of Mormon!" I don't know what I'm doing wrong here. Ill talk about that in a second.

But we contacted many people. One drunk guy tried to quiz me about Christ. Japanese people don't know much about him so he actually wanted to come to church because I answered him. We passed a family and we kept walking. But then I was really pained in my chest. I thought "man its awkward sometimes contacting the family on the streets but that family is so dang cute and they don't have the gospel." So I turned and ran back telling them to wait. It turns out they are a really cool family and they might come to eikaiwa. The lord always prepares people for you to meet.

We returned and on Saturday, we went to an apartment complex that had a lot of potential investigators there. For some strange reason we just didn't feel right. When we got home I turned to Elder Lee and said, "We aren't doing something right. I felt so good in Chikushino but I feel frustrated here. I feel like nothing feels right. I've felt this way since A came to church." He turned to me and said he has felt the same. So for 3 weeks or so we have felt weird. We realized that these past 3 weeks, we haven't involved the members at all. When I was with Mabuchi, he preferred not doing things with members so we never did. I just continued through this transfer. Elder Lee did a lot his first transfer here and it slowly died off. So we decided to really use every member as much as possible. We realized we didn't know much about half the members. I feel like a terrible trainer because we didn't realize this sooner. I know the less actives and people in the area book pretty well but I have no idea what some of the members ideas or experiences are like.

So from here we are going to spend time with members to build their trust. When the trust is built, we will build member missionary plans. Our branch president is an all go for this. He taught in church how the members duty is to help the missionaries. He taught right out of Preach My Gospel. Things are going to be great soon.

Yesterday we didn't get a whole lot done because we went to do service for one member. It was supposed to take 2 hours. It was weeding a garden and making it pretty. Well... we found 8 tree stumps there and up rooted 4 trees. It took a while to say the least. But now the bond is there.

Talk to you on Sunday! :)