It:s hot here. Very hot. Hotter than I have ever been in my life. And we haven:t hit the warmest part of the year yet.
We got our Tenkin Happyo (transfer announcements) yesterday. Neither Elder Cluff or I will be going anywhere. That is what we were expecting\hoping for. Wakayama is way awesome! We don:t want to leave!
Other than that, there:s not tons of news to talk about, so let me just share a couple of cool experiences from this week. Miracles.
On Sunday a former investigator showed up at church. He had some questions and wanted us to teach him. We left priesthood meeting and taught him a little bit about Jesus Christ and the atonement and set a return appointment. Don:t you love it when investigators fall out of the sky?
And then yesterday, we went down to Tanabe for a barbecue. Tanabe is a two hour train ride to the south. It is one of four areas we are responsible for, since those areas don:t have missionaries in them right now. The branch president called us down there for some dendō related activities, and also to feed us. We had to wake up at about 4:30 in the morning to get there on time. We met the branch there at the Church – a building roughly the size of our apartment. Growing up in Utah, you only hear stories about the mission field and the tiny little branches that together represent so much of the strength of Zion. It was really powerful to see for myself the might of Israel, still in its infancy.
We drove out to a little river bank out in the countryside and had lunch. I like Japanese barbecue 🙂 The kids took right to the river: skipping stones, swimming, climbing up big rocks and jumping off into the cool water. The temperature was roughly that of the surface of Mercury, so I was pretty jealous of them. I had to go to my happy place – which in this case consisted of a fantasy of me floating down the Provo on an intertube. And another smaller intertube tied to it with a cooler full of ice and mountain dew. And other intertubes for some friends. Some of whom may or may not have been beautiful women. And then a giant mutant shark comes up from the depths and I akashi-punch it in the face.
Activities like this are incredibly fun, given two conditions. One is that you are able to speak Japanese. The other is that you are allowed to play in the river. When neither of those conditions is met, pretty much all there is to do is to sit on a rock and get sunburnt.
Eventually we packed up and left. On the way back, I fell asleep. I woke up as the car was pulling into a driveway. I was informed that we were there to teach an investigator. And that:s what we did. I wish I had time to transcribe the entire experience from my journal, but suffice it to say that I experienced several miracles throughout the course of the lesson. We watched finding faith in Christ and answered his questions as we went. While speaking with him, everything I learned in the MTC came flooding back to me, along with a full measure of the gift of tongues and unprecedented guidance by The Spirit. Every word I said was in its season. I was able to really participate for the first time – not just be Cluff-Chōrō;s silent shadow. Without having coordinated anything ahead of time, every word we needed was given to each of us in the very moment we needed it. The Spirit was strong in the room. Following a spiritual prompting, I invited him to be baptized. He accepted the invitation. Elder Cluff asked why he wanted to be baptized. He responded, [Because, I want to become pure.] The perfect answer. He brought up some concerns with the Word of Wisdom. He has been drinking and smoking since he was twelve. He knows he needs to stop before he can be baptized, and has made some long strides towards accomplishing that goal, but wonders if he can do it.
We – that is, my companion, the branch president, and I – each offered words of comfort and support. [Brothers,] he kept saying. [We have become brothers.] And it is true. I told him that as his brothers, we can and will help him every step of the way. But more than that, he just watched Jesus Christ give life to the lifeless, sight to them that could not see. [If he can do all that,] I asked. [Do you think he can help you overcome your addiction?]
Again, his response was perfect. [Dekiru, to omō.]
[Yes,] I agreed. [I think so too. In fact, I know so.]
Don:t you love it when yakusokusha fall from the sky?
The lessons of this first transfer are self-evident. The Lord can reward success any time He desires. It is up to us to be faithful to Him in doing His will in all the little things in our day. The Lord is our provider. He will give and take away as he sees fit. When we have faith and trust in him, even when our lives aren:t going as smoothly as we would like, He is able to bless us in exactly the right way to make us most happy. So quit worrying about it! If you:re stuck in your life, if you feel like you:re not recieving the blessings you need, if you feel lost, abandoned, forgotten by God or by those you love – don:t fear. Have faith. It will work out. But we must have enough trust in our Savior to believe that He will help us. He doesn:t ask us to be perfect. He just asks us to have faith. I think if we all understood that better, miracles would be a much more common occurance in our lives. I testify that miracles happen, when they are needed.
And who among us doesn:t need a miracle?
I pray for you always. I always love to hear from you. Keep the faith.
I:ll do the same. Gambarimashō!