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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