Monday, November 24, 2014

Christ, Family, and Joy

So This week is full of awesomeness and miracles. I don't have lots of time but I'll try to get through it all.

We had a Family Home Evening thing on Monday where the youth and their friends gathered. One friend came and while he was there he kept saying "This place is nice. It feels good. Its peaceful. Everyone feels happy and like a family" That's what the gospel of Christ does for you. We will work with him soon but he is pretty busy.

Tuesday. We had a wonderful zone conference. It helped me and Elder Olsen figure some things out that can better help our dendo. Especially in our family history. I would like to get stories of dad, mom, grandpa, grandma (both sides) and their parents if possible. I would be super happy if I could get some stories.

We made it back in time to try to meet W but she completely forgot about our lesson. So we went and dendoed the night away.

Wednesday always seems like the day we pack our lessons on. We had 7 lessons planned. Some of them were not strong. The not strong ones fell through and some of the investigators dropped. But the ones who want to listen, we were able to meet. Last week I said we met this guy named T.  We went and visited him. Mostly we just talked to him and talked about his plants. He liked that we showed interest and he said he would come to church. He forgot to tell us that his wife had her birthday on the 23rd so he will end up not being able to come.

After this man we went to meet T. Well he is awesome as always. Busy too. Elections for Okinawa just passed and I think there is a larger scale elections that his friend is competing in. He is supporting his friend therefore extremely busy. We were able to tell him to pray before he reads the Book of Mormon, which he is loving.

We got a lesson with W. She is regressing because she isn't keeping our commitments. She said "I feel bad when I hear all of the members and missionaries stories of good feelings and experiences. I don't have them. I mean I feel good when i pray but I don't feel like this church is anything special." I turned to her and said "well have you prayed to know if the church is true?" She responded no. I said "that's why. You havent been doing what we asked you to do. We know you will feel it if you do it. But you aren't doing it so therefore you aren't feeling it." After that she said she would pray. Hopefully she is praying and things will turn around.

Thursday. Man I really don't like planning and having eikaiwa on the same day. For some reason this area has eikaiwa on Thursdays. Planning and then eikaiwa just kills you. Our classes have not been good because we have been so dead. Its not good. It also kills our Japanese too because we spend a whole day not speaking it. I wonder what we should do to fix that.

Friday. We start off with E. She has such a bad problem with forgiving. That is probably her only problem. We need to help her with that. We need to get the members more involved in her teaching. After her we went to S's house. Last week when we visited, his bike tire was flat. There was no way he was getting to church on that. So we went when he wasn't home and fixed his tire punk. Tt was super fun.

Remember that woman that walked into the church saying she wanted to repent? Well she completely dropped off the earth. She only gave her home phone number. But the cool thing is, in the phone book, it gives addresses to home phone numbers. I felt like a stalker but we found her house and visited. It turns out she is in the hospital and won't get out for a while. So that's, I guess, the end of her story for now.

We returned to S. He was super happy we fixed his bike. He was beaming when we visited him. We sat him down and talked about baptism. He said he would like to be cleaned from his mistakes and bad things. He has a hard time understanding so we have to teach simply and slowly. But we set a baptismal date for January 18th. We are super happy about that!

Saturday we spent sometime finding. It was super good. We went to an area that Elder Bevan andIi found. Apparently its really new. Almost every house was new. It was super awesome. Everyone seemed to be really genki and listen to us. This man named H.M. really seemed interested in our message. He talked about how God and Jesus appeared to Joseph. We asked him is that was believable and he said yes. My favorite part was when he stepped out of the house and randomly hugged me. It was awesome. We will meet him soon. There are a lot of amazing people we met. I wish I could say more but time limits me.

We had a lesson with C.  It was so good. She has so many life pains and loves to pray because she feels good when she does. We taught her that feeling and told her to try to recognize it and understand what if feels like. It was a short lesson but it was what she needed.

We went to the N's with a member. I was super scared that it was going to be bad. It was super awful at the beginning because the kids were all over the place and the mom seemed like she wasn't in the mood.Bbut the member suddenly started to play with the kids and bam. the spirit came and we had the best lesson we have had with N. We figured out her understanding and cleared a lot of basic things up. Members have some amazing power. Our relationship with N is better now.

We went and visit N. It's been a while. We didn't teach anything but just to get back on base. It was super good and we figured a time where we can meet her.

SUNDAYYYYY!!! So I was super stressed about this. 5 people said they would come. One couldn't because he had his wife's thing. 2 more randomly got sick! One frankly didn't show up. But one of the people, J the lady from the Philippians, called me on Sunday and told me she was feeling better and she would come. So S and J came! They had a great time and felt like they were at home. I was a little upset about the fellow-shipping though. People just passed right by them. Not cool. But they felt the spirit. That's what matters. At the end, we talked to the wife of the recently reactivated member. She said it was okay to start lessons. Her name is Si. We think she can progress really quick.

After church we had ward council. For the past month we have been trying to set the Christmas party up so we can start planning for our open house. We also told them about the mission goal of the 250 people at church. They brushed off the goal. They just said "Elders, good luck." (Not all of them said it but some did and others kind of hinted it. They are really passionate about the work. So me and Olsen will try our hardest to get them going) We think we can pull in 5 or 6 investigators. There are some young members that can bring some more. We think we can get in total 15. Lots of prayer and work is needed.

After church we spent some good time finding. We found this one man that said "sorry its because I'm Japanese and its our culture to be Buddhist." I turned to him and said, "if you let the culture control who you become, you are choosing to let people control who you become. This message has no culture." It turns out he wasn't even Buddhist. The only reason why he doesn't listen is because he doesn't understand. His father and sister are actually Christian. and he lived in America for a long time. He said "well then in 3 topics, what is the message?" That kinda threw us off. We haven't heard that before. I said Christ is the center of the message. It is made for our families so that we can over come sadness and find joy. Christ, families, and joy. There are probably better ways or better words to explain it. But it was what he needed to hear and so he invited us back on next Saturday.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

That's Good enough For Me

I'm totally okay with whatever you send for Christmas, really. I just want to receive some letters. I haven't really gotten anything the past 3 transfers. Last week was awesome because I got 3 on one day and daddy's letter a few weeks ago. I just want to hear how people's lives are doing. And eat some peanut butter m&ms.

So this week wasn't as awe inspiring as last week due to reasons we don't really know or understand. We have guessed the reason of why it wasn't as good, but we are just going to try to push through it. A lot of the appointments that were set up fell through to sudden events. We worked super hard but I'm guessing it was for purposes we can't immediately see. We will have to be patient.

Monday we were supposed to have our lesson with M. She didn't come! So we were sitting at the church with 2 members and it is super awkward to tell the members that the person probably won't come. We decided to dendo instead. There was this slightly drunk man that let us into his house. He was super nice and funny. He said that we could come over and eat at his house whenever we want so we might take him up on that. Maybe teach a lesson as well :)

Tuesday we came back after district meeting and tried to get as much work done before our other lessons. We tried to hit up houses that would have people home in the afternoon..... but that usually means that those people are either really old or house wives. Well we hit all the old people with their Okinawa bend. Super hilarious. We finally had our lesson with E. She is going great. We need to find a way to get members more involved with her lessons. She is about half way done with the ab lessons now. I think she will stay active.

After wards we had our usual service with W and lesson. Really, doing lessons in the chapel is the way to go. It has such a great spirit. We talked about the plan of salvation up until the atonement. We talked quite a bit about agency because of wars. A lot of people are really concerned with wars especially with all the American bases near by. Apparently they are planning on building another one about 5-10 miles east of the city. A lot of people have been asking our opinion about it. We just say that that is their choice and we have a different purpose. It gives us a great chance to talk about agency and the gospel though. So we talked about that a lot and had a great lesson with that.

Wednesday. We had the chance to have 6 lessons. 3 member present and 3 others. But sadly, for reasons not known to us, or based off of ineffectiveness, they fell through. On a brighter note 2 lessons came through! That's 2 more than completely not having any at all!

The first one that fell through was the mom that last week said she wanted God to exist. We came to the house and the husband came to the door. I really don't like men here in japan. Granted, I love the Japanese people, But the men sometimes get on my nerves. Especially in this case. We introduced ourselves and briefly stated what we talked about last time. We asked if we could talk to both him and his wife because a lot of the time when we talk to both, they both say yes. But if we just talk to the husband after talking to the wife, for some reason, 9 times out of 10 they never let us talk to the wife and just reject us! It's really sad. He told us no about talking to his wife but we taught him instead. He wasn't interested so we just moved on.

After that we had a pretty cool miracle to make up for that. We met this lady who was super into Christianity. She named her son Joshua. She wanted a bible but it was too expensive. So when we told her we are giving out the Book of Mormon for free, she gladly accepted. She invited us back without us asking. She said "you guys need to come back and teach me." Well, my friend, we would love to do so. Her name is K. Super nice woman. She said she would try to come to church on the 23rd to hear me give a talk.

After some other appointments dropping we finally met this man named G. He is older but he took the challenge to pray. He has such a kind heart but he is a little slow. That isn't all that much of a problem. As long as he is willing, that's good enough for me.

We had another lesson with W. When planning for it, I had this bad feeling. Every time I have this feeling, its telling me that what we are planning for isn't going to come about or that isn't what is going to happen. So when we got there the lesson started. She had a question from the last lesson of "why are there wars and how through the Book of Mormon can we avoid them," perfect question. But we got there and the lesson never touched on that. We had a double check on prayer and strengthen that. It was a super good lesson. The joints did an amazing job. I think she may continue to pray!

Thursday we were doing just weekly planning and eiwaikai. There was a member who I haven't met who called us and asked for a blessing. I'm a little concerned with how much the ward asks us for blessings instead of their priesthood leaders. This is now my 4th one in about a month or so. I'm honored that they trust the missionaries, and all the other priesthood are busy. I'm not sure if they should always be asking us.

Friday we just went to work and hit it hard. Nothing really big came up. We were off balance. I was saying weird things, So was Olsen. That day was just really hard. We did find a man to give a Book of Mormon to. He had some decent interest. We will visit him soon.

We called a member who recently came home from Fukuoka. He was less active up there but came back after feeling he needed to change. Well, when we called him we were talking about the basketball activity we had planned for Saturday. He said "oh I have my wife. Can she come" When he said that we were so confused. He got married within a month of coming home. It turns out it was a girl he was dating before he came here. I'll talk more about that in a second.

So Saturday we tried to dendo more. We didn't have any appointments so we hit the pavement hard. We handed out 3 copies of the book of Mormon in one day! That's pretty good for us. Super blessed. We visited a less active in the area of where we were working. It turns out he died last week or something like that. There have been so many members that haven't been in contact with the church in such a long time. I feel bad but the Branch Priesthood is so busy all the time they don't really have time for Home Teaching. Not much less active work is getting done unless it is by the women or us. We are working with the branch to set up a plan on contacting or working more with less actives.

We met this really nice man named T. We asked him, "if you can ask God one question, what would it be?" He said, "how can I be more happy in this life?" Well it turns out that we are just sharing exactly that. So we set up a return appointment for Wednesday!

We had that basketball activity. S., that came to church last week, came. He had a lot of fun. He had plans for Sunday so he couldn't come but we had a great chance to build more kankei with him.

Sunday, we went to pick up S. We knocked on his door and he told us to come in. He was completely blasted out of his mind. But he was soooooo funny. We tried to help pick him up and man it is so hard to try to pick someone up who can't control their body. we called one of the branch members to come pick him up but seeing how it was 20 til the start of the meeting, they couldn't do it. But he said he has lots of interest and wanted to come. Next week we will visit him on Saturday so he won't be drunk in the morning.

So that guy who got married brought his wife to church! She was so kind and all dressed up for church. I was super impressed. I think she had a good time and the man is really wanting to get married in the temple. So I think he is trying to teach her the gospel. Things might be really good with that.

Some of the members told us that a less active was trying to eat with us. We didn't quite understand what that was supposed to mean. As we were talking to a member right before the third block, the less active just appears out of no where and gives us some kind of pizza. He has an addiction to tobacco. We sat him down and asked him if he likes smoking. He said "No. Tobacco is not good tasting." Recently I was emailing my friend Andrew and he said that he used Helaman 5:12 to explain how we need to rely on Christ and not tobacco. We did that and he gave us all of his tobacco. It was super cool! I felt super sinful with them in my pocket. It felt really weird. But he wants to change. That's always the first step.

We worked hard and pushed all day. We met this lady who met the missionaries about 20-30 years ago. She straight up told us she listened to the missionaries because she liked them. I think in a romantic way. Now I don't think that is a problem. She is like 60 years old now with a grandchild. We had a great talk and she took the Book of Mormon and said yes to learning more. She said "I WILL NOT ENTER INTO YOUR CHURCH, but I do want to listen to what you have to say." Well, that's good enough for me. As long as there is some kind of desire, that can change.

Till next week!

Jameson Choro

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This Church is Amazing

Holy moly, this has been a crazy week. I'm sorry if I forget details or skim over stuff. This has been one of the best weeks of my mission.

Okay Monday was a great day. We were housing and this guy came out and immediately said no to us. Somehow we brought it back around and he talked about he believes in being born again. I said, "when you are born again, you still suffer pains and have hard times again and again. What would you think about only suffering during this life and having nothing but happiness after this life?" That seemed to perk his interest and we set up a lesson for Sunday.

Tuesday we met with W again. The lesson was talking about how the liahona is our guide to happiness. We related that to the Book of Mormon. She seemed to like it and she was interested in becoming happier. She is happy but the idea of becoming happier excites her. Later that night we had a prompting to visit a old investigator. He was home and he let us in. He had every addiction that is possible.. at least it seems like that. He had beer cans in the corner. Tabacco and pills on the table. Porn on his couch. He just has a rough life. He said he wants to change. He turns to us after we said he can change and said "what advice do you have for me?" We then shared baptism and told him to come to church. He agreed!

Wednesday was sooooooo crazy cool. First we met with M. He is starting to become a dropped investigator. He is slightly mental but that is not the problem. He isn't keeping our commitments and he doesn't remember anything. I feel bad since he is mental but there isn't much we can do about that. We can keep trying but we may need to give him a break.

After M we met T. Man, this guy is incredible. The other elders found him on splits and we needed to visit him again. So he had cancer in about April of this year. At that time he came really close to death and saw a light. He pondered about his life and what that light was. When the elders came by, he saw that light again and felt warm inside. So he wanted to learn what we had to offer. He read the restoration pamphlet twice but didn't fully understand it. But on the back of the pamphlet it says "what should I do?" and under it it says read the Book of Mormon. So he said to us "I would like a Book of Mormon please. I like reading and I would like to know what kind of book this is." In all honesty we didn't teach really at all in this lesson. We jointly testified and he told us his concerns. He is a cram school teacher and after this huge test the college students have, he will arrange his hours to come to church and eikaiwa. This man is amazing.

Afterwards we had a lesson with W again. This lesson was about knowing if Jesus is the Christ and prayer. She was so upset because she prayed to have it rain. well.... it didn't rain. We taught her the importance of patience and understanding when you wait for prayers. The member we brought there really helped her. Also we did our lesson in the chapel. We told her that she would feel the Spirit there. At the end of the lesson she said I feel warm here. I feel like something is surrounding me. Well W, that is the Spirit. We challenged her to pray. she said she would

This is still on Wednesday. It was really jammed packed. and we still have another lesson with a new investigator named C. She said she wanted to believe God and wanted to pray. So we brought the Branch President and taught her prayer. Great lesson!!! She said she wanted to pray all the time and that she wants to come to church. Especially since her kids are wamp and skipping out on school. Her sister too is going through cancer. She wants to pray for help. It goes to show like in the 32 chapter of Alma that people that are in bad circumstances are attracted to the blessings of the gospel. I'm so grateful for the power of prayer.

Thursday we only had eikaiwa. Not much happened.

Friday we went to a new investigator who dropped after the lesson. Just a old man complaining about how God didn't exist because his life was terrible. He wouldn't listen to our explanations. Se tried but when you harden your heart, you won't understand the gospel.

After all was said and done we went finding and found another 2 moms that were really interested. Super super blessed. One said she wants God to exist. the other one said that she wants her family to be happier. We have an appointment on Wednesday with her. The other mom said she will come to church maybe next week or the week after.

Saturday we had to take the language assessment exam. The computer was really old so we had problems. It took a huge chunk out of our day. Not really happy about that. We went and talked to some people and then we tried to visit S. That man with lots of problems. He recommitted to come to church.

After him we visited the N family. They aren't progressing. The mom keeps saying she forgets. The main reason she started the lessons was because the kids were interested. She said that they weren't really interested now. I asked her if they were doing anything we were asking. She said no. My thought was, of course the kids don't have interest, you aren't doing anything with them that will help them. We can only meet them once a week and we give them things that will help them through the week but they aren't following it. And they aren't progressing. We may need to give them a break.

Afterwards we met this guy who dropped after we taught him. He is a great guy and believes in nature. He believes God made nature but thinks nature instead of God. We tried to work with that but he said "I'm okay with how I'm living now." This is another thing that is opposite of the people before. The people who aren't compelled to be humble or who are not humble, are hard to teach. How can we teach these people and have them accept it?

Sunday, we went to go pick up S from his apartment. He came to church with us. He felt really good and said he might come next week. Not only that, but our members friend came again to church! We taught him during 3rd hour and the lesson was really good! After church, Elder Olsen randomly said "lets go downstairs." I thought that was random but said okay and went. Down in the lobby was this random woman named M. she said "where is the priest? I have something to confess." It was random but we grabbed the branch president. They talked for about 30-40 minutes or so. The BP gave her a Book of Mormon, taught her how to pray, and then had us set an appointment with her.... for tonight. :) She wants to change and wants to learn. Her husband's sister is a member of this church living in America so she came to our church for help. The church is soooooo amazing.

We headed out and met up with a member for a lesson but that person wasn't there. So we headed over to a less actives house. The less active wasn't there, but their daughter... (the less active's sister's daughter. The sister died so they took in the girl) was there. She was super cool and she wants to come to an activity soon!

After that we headed to that appointment with that man from Monday. He was good. We learned a bunch about him but he asked about almost the resurrection of animals, if we believe in aliens, and things like that. Some deep stuff. We taught and even though he was firm in his faith, he said we could come back. Things may change with him!!!

Over all this week was amazing. We just worked hard and the Lord did the rest. Elder Olsen and I teach with great unity. We are looking forward to Christmas with our hopes that we can give Christ and Heavenly Father some of his children.

Elder Jameson

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fasting Brings Miracles

This week was great. Elder Olsen is a great missionary. His work ethic is great and he has a great desire just to make this area explode. It's exactly the kind of companion I need. We had some great things happen this week and we are looking forward to this transfer.

Monday we were to have a lesson with a man that the other missionaries found on a junkai about 2 weeks ago. Since Elder Bevan transferred I knew nothing about this man. So we went. He was super cool and has lots of interest. He had cancer a few years ago or just recently. He almost died so he wanted to know more about God. He was busy because he was in the middle of his job but we set up an appointment for Wednesday. Later that day we found this lady who is half Christian and half Okinawa religion. She believes in Christ when she is sad. We told her how believing in Christ can help us become even more happy than we are now. We set up an appointment but it seemed like she wouldn't be home at that time. We had only a little bit of time left so we prayed and received instruction to go to a near by apartment and hit one door. We talked for about 3 minutes and she said we could come back!

Tuesday we worked hard. We met a new investigator named M. He is slightly handicapped but he has a pure heart. He believes in Christ but doesn't really know him at... all. We taught him some basic things and he said we could come back. It was a good lesson. We talked to a member after that about her 21 year old granddaughter and 19 year old grandson. We had a member's son come home recently and he seems to know all the less active youth in the area so it looks like there might be a chance that he may help.

Later that night we did some more housing. Lots of great people. One man said God doesn't exist because his life sucks. We told him if he trusted in God it can become better. He told us "I won't trust God" it was really sad and it made me think "this is the hope of our message. If your life sucks why wouldn't you try to rely on something that can help. Your life is going to be the same if you don't do anything about it."

We met this one man who said we could come back and teach about how he and his children can live together after this life.

Wednesday was basically spent setting up for the Halloween party. Brother M helped us all day. I love that guy. He helped so much. We got most of it done. T called and said he was busy but we will meet him next week instead. I'm looking forward to that.

Thursday we had zone training meeting then we returned and started to prep for the party. At first it didn't seem like a lot of people were going to come. A member brought her husband who wasn't a member. They used to live in America and he wanted to be baptized but he came across some people who were anti-Mormon and he eventually stopped. He hasn't come to church in 15 years she said. So this was a great chance for him to come back. Around 7:20 or so, this one college student that we meet a few weeks ago came. He brought 10 of his friends. Then other members brought some of their children and children's friends. At the end there was about 35-40 people that came! It was super awesome. The party was great and a lot of them said they wanted to come to our Christmas party. Things are looking good. If we have activities like this, I think more people will become more used to the church and eventually join. That's why open houses are so important.

Friday we had weekly planning and some dendo. We went to visit a lot of the people we had planned from earlier this week but they all weren't home :(. We did meet this one lady who said she wanted to believe in God. Se asked her why and she said "there is a feeling in my heart." That was the spirit testifying to her about this message. She has 2 sons that she wants to listen to this message. They both are of age to receive baptism.  We will meet her on Wednesday.

Saturday we finished some planning and headed out. We housed a bit but nothing really happened. We didn't meet many people because every place we went to, there was no one home.

Sunday. Fasting brings miracles. One of the members here, M is a college student. He is the So awesome. He brought one of his friends to the party and asked him to come to church. At the end of sacrament meeting, that friend came! And he stayed for the rest of church. He is pretty cool and he accepted the Book of Mormon at the end of church. But I had a feeling we should have took him out of Elders Quorum. Those lessons are always boring. No offense to the teachers. Basically it was a 30 minute discussion on how we need to prepare the sacrament better. It wasn't prepared at all. And I feel bad that he sat through that. I looked over at M during the lesson and we both just had this thought of "hmmmm I wonder how he is taking this"

BUT it looks like he might come back. Next time we wont take him to Elders Quorum.

After church we talked to some members and are getting a better idea as how to start a mutual program where we can invite high school students to activities. The Branch President said it was okay for us to do this.

We started to dendo afterwards. No one opened their door!!!! It was so frustrating. You slowly die inside going door to door, waiting. But when someone answers the door, there is some energy that enters into you. I was super tired and hungry but this one college student answered his door and man we had a great lesson. We will come back on Sunday.

After dinner we went by and visited a less active. It was his birthday and we went to sing. It was great and we can come again this week to bring cookies.

We went and dendoed again and met this 17 year old girl named M. I think a bunch of her sisters and mom live in a house together. I only saw girls there. So many. It was weird.  But she said we could come back and explain God to her. I want to teach the whole family.

Afterwards we met this German. This guy had funny English. He was shinto and he wouldn't let us talk about our religion. He was super nice and he might come to eikaiwa.

Lastly we talked to the N family. Had a great lesson on prayer and why we ask them to pray. I felt so much love for them and told them I loved them. I told them I want them to pray because I want them to feel the way I do when I pray. At the end we pulled out a copied part of the 2014 October Liahona on the prayer sandwich. It is super easy to follow and we gave it to them. She said "we will try to pray everyday." Please pray so that they find time to pray!

Have a great week!

Elder Ho!

Elder Ho and the DL

Halloween party