On Monday we were able to talk to a 19 year old girl we met a few weeks ago. Her name is S. She doesn't really mind us coming so that's good. We don't know how well she reacts to the message.
After we had family home evening with T. She is now chained to her sister. She won't move unless her sister will. Her sister is now feeding her things to say to us when we talk to her. When we first started to talk to her she said she really didn't understand the Bible or the Book of Mormon. This lesson she said she completely understands the bible and that it supports her church. Also the Book of Mormon is impossibly hard to understand. I'm not quite sure how that comes about considering the fact that the Book of Mormon is exceptionally easy to understand and the principles are simple. She again said she never received an answer.
Tuesday we had zone conferences. It was great! It reaffirmed me because it showed that what I'm doing besides actually teaching, is how missionary work should be done. It showed me I know more than I thought I did. None the less, I still have room for improvement. For example when we went finding after we came home, we found a Korean who's best friend is Christian but still we were able to get him interested in the message. There is something in everyone that will get them interested, we just need to find what that is.
|Photo credit: Nakamura|
Wednesday, we prepped a little bit for the typhoon. On the way we met a man who knew a lot about different religions. He said "in japan, the Mormon church doesn't have a good impression. That's because it is a cult." I just looked at him funny and the Spirit really helped me direct the conversation. I asked him and said "do you even know what cult means?" He said no. I just shook my head. I said "people deem things they don't understand bad things. Our message is one that can obtain eternal happiness. Since Japanese people don't really think about after this life, its hard to understand something that can be eternal. But it can. It will. And we want to share how we can obtain it."
Later in the day we went with Nakamura and did some housing a bit. I feel bad because he really went hard. Afterwards he said "why do these people not have faith?" I wonder the same thing. There is a promise that the work of the Lord will only progress in Japan through the members. If they don't do anything, the work wont do anything as well. We are trying our hardest to get the members going. There is such a strange feeling here. They are really grateful for us, and are willing to joint with us, but I feel like that's all they think they can do. They all say "our friends have all heard the gospel." That may be true. I haven't asked much from these members for referrals. Mostly because the branch president told them all 3 months ago that within the next 3 months he wants every member to give one referral. Guess how many literal referrals I've received. (meaning, lets go to my friend. I've talked a little about the gospel with them and asked them to meet you) I have not received a referral of that sort. The most referrals I've received are from people's neighbors. I don't want to nag or beat up on the members. I know their lives are hard and they try their hardest. I just want to know how we can help them overcome this. It's so incredibly frustrating when they say "thank you for all of your hard work." Frankly we look at the map and say, "who can we visit and where shall we go" and then we just talk to as many people as possible. That's not really hard work. We don't have a great deal of things to work with so we are in the basic stages of missionary work. What adds a great deal of burden to it is the fact everyone says they're busy. It's like we are walking through a maze trying to find people. Every turn there is a wall that says "I'm content with my life." "I'm busy." "I don't see the point." The point is eternal life. People who are content with their lives are the hardest to talk to. They don't see the need to change so they commit in the hearts they won't. How can we help them see there is something greater? I've tried so hard! How can we help them be compelled to change? In second Nephi 33:2 it says the people harden the hearts so the Spirit has no place to dwell... or something like that. ( 2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.) It's so amazingly frustrating. But after all these thoughts, I'm reminded again how the Lord will fulfill. We just need to remain faithful and think hard.
Thursday we were able to dendo a bit. The typhoon completely passed us. Nothing happened. So we went and worked. We met a guy named S. We met him a week before. He is super kind. He doesn't really have a religion at all. He is just kinda there, but is super kind. I love talking to him because of how kind he is. We housed some other college students. One of which was apparently having a study party. Two kids came up during the contact. One of them whispered to the other (it was a small hallway so you could clearly hear their voice) "it's the Jehovah" I turned and said "oh sorry, we aren't the Jehovah Witnesses." He freaked out and turned to his friend and said "They aren't Jehovah" it was really funny but we can come back.
We visited T. She changed again. She said this time she received an answer of "return to your church." Having Nakamura there was great. He said, "no that's wrong. You didn't get the answer. Let's pray right now." So we prayed. The sister was home but pulled the normal Japanese person excuse of "I'm busy" and wouldnt' come out. Nakamura is bent on meeting the sister.
Friday was a long day of housing. We didn't get much done the first bit but after quite a bit of praying we were directed to an area that hasn't been housed at all by other missionaries. Two women saw us and started to talk to us. They didn't have interest but they were super impressed that we came to that area. We found a lady named F. she saw the 10 commandment movie so she knows a little about Christ. We have an appointment to share more with her on Friday. We met another woman about 10 minutes later who said we could come back.
Last week we met this family called the H family. We went and visited them after a housing an area that I'll talk about in a second. They are awesome. We have a great relationship with them. They have 2 sons, 20 and 21. The mom doesn't really have an intent to change but she is totally okay with listening. I really like them. I hope we can see some progress.
SO we were lead to an area that I've never seen before. I said "hey let's house here for a bit." We ran into some normal people but one experience left a impression on me. We were housing and there was a group of 4 old women who were gathered like the school girls who gossip about the weird kids. Well those weird kids were us. I heard them talking about us, but we housed right pass them. Then one lady said "the next house is mine. No one is inside." I said "okay cool!" and started to contact them. They all turned away and looked the opposite direction. As if looking the other direction is really going to help the situation. But I asked them if they would like to live with their family after this life. Here is the first startling answer "I'm living with them now. I'm okay." That is sad. They are content with life as is. They didn't want to think about what will happen in the future. I pointed that out and said in this world all things end. When they end would you want to live with your family again? They said that would be fun. I said would it be worth believing in Jesus Christ, who died so that you can live with your family? They said "sorry, we are Buddhist." I don't want to be rude but that has no relation to if you want to live with your family. I said "That may be true but what hope does that bring you for the life after this and living with your family?" They didn't answer. They couldn't answer. I hate saying this about other religions but no one else has an answer. They don't have the beliefs to support that kind of answer. The Doctrine is simple. We can live after this life, with our families and without pain or suffering. This is all due to Christ and his love for us. He died so we won't.
Saturday nothing went according to plan, but it went better. It shows us sometimes the Lord's way is better than our way. We walked out of our apartment and Knighton forgot his keys so we went back in and when we came out again, a woman came out of no where and asked us if we were missionaries. It turns out she is Sister Olsen. Her husband is a less active return missionary who has a lot of hate for a family. They live 40 minutes away by car and it turns out the wife is at our apartment where our bikes are parked. We talked to her and invited her to different things.
On the way to our schedule, we met an 18 boy who doesn't really know Christ but said he would be happy if he could feel his love. We got his number and we will call F. T. tomorrow.
|Photo credit: Nakamua|
After eikaiwa we went to visit an investigator. She wasn't home and it started to rain hard. Elder Knighton didn't have his rain gear so we went to the restaurant of an English student who was an investigator 40 years ago. They gave us cake and we talked to them as the rain poured. The man pulled out his old copy of the Book of Mormon. It has marks in it and he told us to sign it. They said they didn't receive baptism but they loved the teachings. They are too devout to their own beliefs to change. After we went with Nakamura to dendo a bit. We met an old investigator and his mom. The mom was super protective but not rejecting us. Eventually we only were able to invite them to eikaiwa but they said they would come. We ate dinner with Nakamura.
Sunday. Another baptismal date is dropped.
We had the K elders visit F to see how he was doing. He told them someone stole his car and he couldn't come to church. Well, he found his car in one day and came to church but he freaked out how the missionaries found him. I told him we work as a team and we were worried about him so we sent the other missionaries. He complained about it and said "the Mormon is scary. I'm done." There was nothing we could do. After the members told us that it was sad that F's family told him not to come. I said "that's a different story from what I heard" Again we have an investigator who lied their way out of a baptismal date. It hurts. To shine some humor on it, it's like finally setting a date with a girl and her cancelling on you. Later that same evening you see her with another person or doing something contrary of what she told you she was going to do.
Again the Lord gives and takes. I am just the person who has to experience it. I'm trying my best and I know the Lord will compensate. I just need to endure. It was shown in the rest of Sunday. We meet 2 people I haven't met in 3 months. It was super awesome. K and S. They were super happy to see us. Then we met some awesome people on the streets. Like this one couple who were about in their 60's. I said Christ died for us. The man freaked out "whatttttt???" But then I said but he still lives. He freaked out even more. They said if you can have an eternal family, they would want it.
We met S. He is super awesome. Se asked if we could meet him next week. He said yes. We just need to push through and the Lord will help. Do our best and the Lord will provide the rest.