Taking It Back to Japan

 

We taught a kid english class and these were some of the people who came.

We taught a kid english class and these were some of the people who came.

I decided today that I wanted to share a journal entry from my last month as a missionary in Japan. I was reading through this journal the other day and thought this would be uplifting to share.

 

Sunday, July 15, 2007 – Yamagata-shi, Yamagata-ken

“Today was a weak day. It started out with Tanaka San calling and saying he couldn’t go to church. Which instantly means his baptism is off for July 28th. So that’s a bummer. Then all day it rained since a typhoon is hitting south Japan and so that makes work slower.  But, nonetheless church was great. It’s always uplifting and fun to play with the primary kids. They drew us pictures today! I also got some food presents for my birthday tomorrow, so that’s cool too!

There was a cool thing that happened today too. Yesterday as we walked to English Class we were contacting people. Brother Sonehara pulled up in his car and offered a ride but we said we were proselyting on the way up to class and we would be fine. Then today in church we were learning from President Kimball’s teachings about not putting other gods before Heavenly Father. I felt like I should mention that sometimes we put ourselves as a “higher God” when we decide to rest instead of fulfill our callings in the chuch. My most important possession is my calling as a missionary and my name tag, and a missionary’s biggest temptation is to rest instead of work.

The members also asked and so I explained the best way to defeat that temptation is to decide beforehand that when it’s time to do your calling you will just do it. The prompting to do right sometimes only comes once so we must decide, or have already chosen by then to do our calling. Well, all this was said in class and I didn’t think anything of it.

After church I ran into Brother Sonehara again and he asked if he could say what he was feeling. He explained again how we declined his offer for a ride yesterday and how he figured we would think it lucky to get a ride up to the church. He then reviewed how I said my name tag and calling are most important, along with how we must put God first over everything else. He told me he was deeply impressed with my words and also my actions showing  my words. He said it really got to him and he knows he needs to do better in his own calling. He again thanked me many times for my help and then left. That’s wonderful to see the members realize their duty and responsibilities in the church. I think that chance to speak in class, though only a handful of brethren, was one of the reasons I was called to Yamagata for my final two transfers in Japan.”

I really like that memory. It brings back fond feelings of hope and faith that the members will do what is right, remember their calling, and move the Lord’s work forward. Alma shares a story about the strength of members doing their duty in Alma 4:1-5. I’ll share a section of it, “3. And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty. 4. And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God […] there were about three thousand five hundred souls that united themselves to the church of God and were baptized.” All of them member referrals!

We all have a duty as followers of Christ to humbly move the Lord’s work forward and be missionaries to our neighbors and friends. Then we can all rejoice as the Lord does when He says, “And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.” (Matt. 18:13). For that reason, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, is the reason why I started this blog. And I hope it isn’t in vain. I’m always open to reflections from other people, and would love to hear any comments you have to share.

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Trialz up the Wizazz

So I have been a way for a while but I really do want to keep on top of this blog, and talk about some things that happened a bit ago. So I’ll just keep going.

So it was finals week a couple weeks ago! Man! What a trial that all was for me! I had 5 finals to take, some scheduled, some at the Testing Center, but with those 5 tests I also was given some spiritual tests to handle along the way. First off, the day before Finals started, on a reading day, I had an episode of Sciatica in my right leg, where my Sciatic nerve root in my hip was being pinched by my muscle. If I walked on it for long then my foot would fall asleep, which was how I found out I had it, and quite scary when you have no idea what’s going on. It made it so half my leg was always numb and the other half was always in pain. It hurt so bad when it started I finally left the library where I was studying and went home for the day. . Along with Sciatica I got sick somehow (maybe a combination of sick and bad allergies) where I lost my voice completely. And to top all of that at my work we had the busiest week of the year at my job. I work for BYU Caps and Gowns and am the logistical support for distribution, which was the week of finals, which meant crazy inflexible hours of yelling at graduates and walking all the time. So yeah, definitely a week of trials. Alma 36:27 “And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.

Another favorite scripture of mine is, “And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

For me, and I hope for you too, once I understand that something is a trial then it becomes so much easier to bare! If the Lord has something planned for me to grow, then I am happy to jump right into it and do it right. And I am happy to help others understand that trials are for our good, they are to help us become more like our Savior, and build our characteristics that help me become heaven-worthy. I love my Heavenly Father because of his desire for me to become like my Savior, and become like Him.  There truly is no  possible way for us to reach Heaven without going through the trials of life. There are no ways for us to understand how much God loves me until I understand how the trials He gives me help me grow not only temporally, but spiritually, and celestially.

In the end I feel that if we want to become a spiritual giant, worthy of the work the Lord has ready for us to do, and worthy to live with Him once again, then we will not only need to bare the trials of life, but we need to look forward to and hope for the days when we have the hardships and pains that come with trials.

I love my Savior. I know He loves all of us and knows us personally because of the great sacrifices He did for us to live on this earth, and understand what the purpose of life is. I ask you to share with me your feelings about this, and some of the lessons and reflections that you have learned from your trials. I also invite you to search out and ponder the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is the true way to salvation and eternal happiness.