Week 76 - March 25, 2013
We've had a great week and an especially great Sunday here in Hibarigaoka. We enjoyed a great ward conference yesterday, with a completely full chapel. Sunday school classes were extra large, with even 16 people in the normally small Gospel Principles class. After the meetings, we had a great baptismal service for Erina Adachi. She's 17 years old and full of love and faith. There were probably over 100 people in attendance at the service, more than I've ever seen. It was great.
We were blessed to be able to have three investigators attend the baptismal service as well as stay for the shokujikai (potluck) afterward. They all had a great time and definitely felt the spirit. One of them told us specifically that he had a very warm feeling throughout the service.
We're continuing to help one of our investigators, Kawashima-san, to be baptized three weeks from now on the 14th. He's also 17 years old.
Elder Call is a good missionary and is continuing to grow immensely with each day. He works hard and is especially developing the leadership attributes of love, obedience, and humility. He has great faith and is always looking to improve.
I was able to exchange with Elder Piland (of my mtc group) this past week. We had a good time working hard together. We were able to have two less-active lessons, both of which ended with the less-active member committing to attend church on Sunday. Elder Piland, like Elder Call, is also very hard-working and doesn't lack motivation. I was able to learn a lot from him, and recognize ways I can improve. I especially want to improve my ability to work with anyone in any situation. I think of the companions that Jesus Christ chose, fishermen and a tax collector, and understand more about how we are all accountable for our own efforts and actions - as well as how that truly does affect our companion(s) and companionship greatly. I know that I am completely responsible for what I do. And I know that what I do has great power in what my companion does. Christ's faith and good works were never diminished if the apostles, his companions, lacked faith or good works. And His faith, etc. in turn definitely helped the apostles to have great faith.
I love Hibarigaoka and dread the day when I am to leave. I spent four transfers in Sagamihara as well, and the time went by quickly there, however it feels like the time's gone by at least three times faster here. As I ponder the past few months, I'm able to see all of the great growth and remember the many people we've been able to serve and help. However of course, there is so much more work to be done and so many miracles to happen. Hibarigaoka ward, beginning with the stake and ward leadership, is growing greatly, with dendo fire continuing to build and build. I will work hard, be bold, and love everyone all that I can! And I look forward to the continued progress and great miracles that will be seen here!
In other news, the Sakura (cherry blossoms) have come out and it's just going into mankai (the peak), which will last for about two weeks. Today for p-day we went down to a really nice, and big, park for companionship study, stayed there for lunch and to hang out a little, and had some conversations with people. I'll attach a few pictures. Apparently pretty much all of the parks in Japan were once the royal grounds of palaces, which have since been converted into public parks.
We had a pretty long (maybe about 50 min.) conversation with a nice man originally from Texas. He recognized us as Mormon missionaries and tried hard to prove Joseph Smith a fraud. But there is no arguing with true and sincere testimony. Elder Call and I felt the spirit working within us, and we saw the power of bold testimony. I told him if he hasn't read the Book of Mormon, and humbly at that, he hasn't researched our church. The conversation ended with him taking a Book of Mormon with a commitment to read the entire thing. We'll pray for him and probably meet him in the park again sometime.
In other fun news, mostly unrelated to sharing the gospel, last Wednesday we played basketball with some members and went to lunch after. We had Gyutan (cow tongue.) It was pretty good! There are a few pictures attached.
I love you all so much!! Thank you always for your great support. I know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that the fullness of His Gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith - a Prophet just as Moses, Abraham, and Isaiah were in biblical times! There were no holes in his character; He lived the doctrine he preached. The Book of Mormon is evidence of this! An essential element of missionary work is humility. The missionaries must be humble, and those they strive to help must be humble. When only one side is, the missionaries or the other person(s), it doesn't work. However, when the power of the missionaries teaching, inviting, and helping in humility combines with people humbling themselves and seeking with real intent, miracles truly do occur. Of this I testify from the bottom of my heart! From true conversion to true growth, let us all strive every single day to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. Take care and have a great week!!
6542 - Gyutan! The thick part.
6545 - Gyutan! The thin part.
6548 - Gyutan chart
6593 - Before Erina's baptism
6540 - A puzzle I gave Erina to congratulate her at her baptism
6537 - Wrote a note on the back!
6628 - Our study spot at the park
6622 - View from the study spot
6687 - Colorful shot of the Sakura
6673 - Green bird in Pink Sakura
6696 - Sakura macro
6699 - Another Sakura macro
6719 - Lake and shrine
6716 - More lake and shrine
6746 - Sakura across a pond