Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1/20/14 email

Mom and Dad,
Well, I'd say this was a pretty great week! Some things worked out--a couple things didn't, but overall a great week! One day last week, we took a train to a very distant part of the area and dendo-ed there all day. Since we took the train, we didn't have our bikes and it was all on foot. It was also raining. I guess I got a good humbling taste of what missionary work was like back in Samuel H. Smith's days.
Last week the GC investigator and the Filipino guy both came to the New Year's party! They seemed to really enjoy themselves. The GC dude still was studying physics and engineering--He even said that his biggest worry with joining the church is he might not be able to focus 100% on work/study and 100% on church. The New Years celebration was way great. You'll have to see the pictures and videos. Sadly, those are on the next memory card, so you'll have to wait a while longer. And yes, I'm trying to send off the current one.
That night we also had a lesson with our other investigator. He definitely wants to be baptized and was really interested to hear that other people have overcome tobacco, coffee, and job schedules to be baptized. We were going to meet with him yesterday at church but IT SNOWED, so he couldn't make it.
Tuesday was pretty interesting. We went to visit a potential investigator. When we went to his place, he came out and explained how he appreciates our concern and effort on his part and that he admires what we're doing, but he is unable to change faiths and join another religion.That was probably the nicest, most sincere rejection I'll ever have in my life. Later that day we also had a lesson with the Filipino investigator. We went in-depth about the Holy Ghost and how God answers prayers. He also committed to read and pray about the Book or Mormon. We sure were praying about him doing that so he could get an answer.
I'm not sure if I mentioned last week how after 大会 we got a call from a former investigator we visited and left chirashi with. The day we visited him was the day we were on foot. He wanted us to come back and have dinner with him, so that's what we did on Thursday. He explained how he's pretty set in his beliefs. He did have some interest and asked some questions though, so all-in-all it turned into a real lesson. He also loves English, so we told him about one of the programs--we go and teach English for 30 minutes then teach a Gospel lesson for 30 minutes. He sounded interested. We will see what happens.
Saturday was the best day, by far. We had another lesson with the Filipino. He said he prayed for guidance before reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. He went on and said he was flipping through the back and saw the writings of Mormon. Naturally, he decided to read in there since that's what we're called. The very first verse he read was Mormon 9:27. I can't possibly describe through email the atmosphere of the room as he told us this, but he said he read that verse and it had a tremendously huge impact on him. He said that he truly felt that it was written just for him. We explained how that's the Holy Ghost answering him, and he understood completely. He also went on and read Ether 12:27, about making weak things strong and how that also had an impact on him. He also came across Moroni 8 where it talks about infant baptisms. Being Catholic, he had questions about that. At first I wasn't sure how to respond, but then the words just seemed to flow into my head and out my mouth. I was saying exactly what needed to be said to help him. I knew it wasn't me saying it, but the Spirit. The whole lesson he talked about the impact some verses had on him and we explained them further and testified about it all. I really can't do it justice over email, or normal conversation for that matter. At the end we talked about how the Book of Mormon teaches all we've taught him so far and how it's evidence that it's all true. We then invited him to be baptized, and he accepted! His date is for February 16th, the week following transfers. He really understands everything at this point and believes it. I pointed out that he had a similar experience to Joseph Smith reading James 1:5 as when he read Mormon 9:27. I can't really put in to words what it was like. Following the lesson we went with him and had dinner at the American-style burger joint/hole-in-the-wall. I think I've mentioned it before. If not, they serve huge, American-style hamburgers. We loved it! Pace Choro went for the large-size "Super Dynamite Burger". That thing was huge!
The next day at Sunday, the Ward Mission Leader (dendoshunin) couldn't make it to Missionary Coordination Meeting (dendochoseishukai--DCS) due to the snow, so the Bishop conducted it. The Bishop is awesome; he has a very strong dendo fire! After seeing that we had a yakusokusha, he and everyone at the meeting was very excited and discussing the best ways we can help our yakusokusha, and all the other investigators, as well. This ward is awesome!
About traveling to the honbu: looking at a map, we aren't too far, but this area is called "Kitarokko" because 'kita' means 'north' and 'Rokko' is the name of the big mountain between us and the honbu. Getting there involves going all the way around the mountain. It's not actually that big. I climbed it with Hiratsuka Choro and the seishinbyo. The summit is 931.25 meters--the highest point in the mission!

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