Monday, July 21, 2014

Specialized bikes bring special problems

This week was a little rough to take in. It made me realize the hearts of the members a little bit and led to some discussions with Elder Knighton. In the brightest tone I can muster, I'm trying hard for the Branch, but I don't know how much hope they have for themselves. Granted they do work hard at things and over all I can't apply what I will say today to all the members. But there are key members that expressed things over the past 6 months that have slowly alarmed me. I didn't take full notice of the situation until yesterday when some really dim comments were made. It was all because our Branch President, who holds the branch down, was sick and wasn't there to keep things straight. I'll explain things at the end but I'll review the week first.

On Monday we had a weird day. We went finding and this lady came out and said "are you the Jehovah Witnesses?" We said no. She said "Oh you must be Mormon then." That surprised us because no one ever gets that far. They only know the JWs. Then we talked about different things. With everything we said she freaked out. She then turned to us and said "go visit my friend in this apartment. She is Christian."

So we did but a girl the age of 16 opened up the door. After going over what happened, we think she was a baby sitter but she showed a decent bit of interest either in us or the message. I'm not quite sure which is which but we will try to visit her again today.

We visited a kind-of less active. She isn't less active yet but its been a while. She is so very kind and I love her so much. I'm glad I get to work with her.

Speaking of which, on Tuesday morning we went to the train station to go to Fukuoka for district meeting. I had a feeling we would see the member and it turns out that I was right. We rode with her all the way up to Fukuoka. She expressed many concerns and joys of her life. (She is from the Philippines so this was in English. Yeah for English!) Her son is doing great. He is a less active due to missing meetings because of sports. But she said he wants to be our friends. Then we moved to her husband who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. This is part of the reason she is not coming to church. They have to take care of him. He was progressing a while ago but I haven't been able to talk with her in a month. I asked how he was doing. she said "not good. He has 6 months to live." I just sat there. I had no idea what to say. Then I asked if she has talked to him about priesthood blessings. She said she did and he rejected it. Super sad but we will try to pray for him.

Tuesday we went to an area we haven't really visited before. The first contact rejected us but said "my neighbor is from the Philippines talk to her. She may believe in the same kind of thing you do." So we did. She was busy but we will come back on a different day.

It turns out that we went to visit another lady from the Philippines. I don't know why we visited every person from the Philippines on one day. It just happened to be that way. But we knocked and in broken EnglishR she said "I have  big problem."   I asked if we could do anything. She said with tears "its family problem. Come a different day please."  I forgot to mention during this day it was raining really hard. We were soaked even with gear.

Wednesday, we were riding and Elder Knighton's tire went flat. We were walking around to try to find a shop. It turns out that his bike is so special that we couldn't fix it, or at least the man didn't know how to. Its okay though, we fixed it ourselves with a bunch of ways that aren't really legitimate (aka using a metal file to make a hole in the rim of the tire. This really killed a lot of time on the following days.)

But we were able to met E. She prayed!!!! Yayyyyyy!!!! She prayed about her daughter because her daughter in on the crazy side and after she prayed her daughter called her! ANSWERS YEAH!!!! But she played it off as if it didn't come as an answer. She is a kinjin without being a kinjin. She said great things like "I thought I should have a religion to teach my kids." We will try to hammer the importance of the gospel for families. I think that could help her.

Thursday we went around with the help of Nakamura to get things for the bike. It turns out Knighton's bike had 14 punks. It was losing air quickly and we had to pump it up every 10 minutes by a hand pump. We didn't get much done on Thursday but Nakamura visited T and she said if there is a family home evening, she wants to go.

Friday we went to buy a new tube to replace the old one but the nozzle was too big to fit in the rim of the bike so we had to get a file to saw it down since no bike store had the right tube. That killed some time... well a lot of time. We were only able to meet the H family. The mom wasn't there. I said we wanted to teach the family. To pass the time we played catch with the son who is 20. He was freaking out the whole time saying "I'm playing catch with an American." It tickled me, but it also tickled the mom when she got home. She said "Wow a Buddhist and a Christian playing catch together!" We gave a short message and went home. On Saturday we were able to visit S. she is an eternal investigator. She is one because she doesn't really remember much detail. A little sad but we gave a short lesson.

Sunday. Oh man. the last half of the day was meh okay. We were able to see 2 of our friends and invite them to the open house. But before all of this we had our weekly report.

There were many opinions expressed and hard hearts shared. I tried to remind them that we should act like Christ but I only received negative answers. They support an open house but want to do it following meetings which I doubt will bring in many investigators. It needs to be later in the day. I also tried to get them more involved in member present lessons but was shut down because I was not "leadership."

In a summery of what I have seen over the past 6 months, is that some members have but up walls and defined what the branch is supposed to be. There are some that are great and don't apply to this but they have set up a culture of survival and what ever is not within those walls is not allowed. It's very complicated and very hard to explain. On the surface things are fine but.... I don't know what to do to fix the problem underneath. I have prayed continually about how I can help them but my ideas are shot down. I am doing my best and will continually pray for these members.


Elder Jameson

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