It's nice to hear from everyone, and how everyone is doing. I really appreciate the emails. I am really beginning to see the great importance of the words the prophets have said, especially about Family Home Evening, prayer, scripture study, and attending the temple. These things will help ensure that your family will not lose its balance.
This transfer has been really interesting. Incredibly amazing. The Lord has opened the hearts of many families that have invited us to teach their loved ones. Some families have only one member in them, and that person is striving their best.
I love Japan. Love love love Japan.
So, here is my things learned this week: if you don't obey God, you are not entitled to the promised blessings. When we obey His word, we are fulfilling our promises to Him, for which He will bless us in so many ways, that we can't imagine. And the ones that have blessed my life the most, which would bless all of your lives too, as they have already, is truly doing the things that matter most with those who matter most to you.
Read together as a family, find time to shut off the world, and let God in. Open your eyes to the eternal things, not just the small things right ahead of you. My companion last transfer once pointed out why I was so tired after bike riding, "you pedal so hard when the light is red. If you would look up, you would understand that you could have taken your time getting to the light without exhausting yourself." We then discussed that I get that way with a lot of things. I can only see what is here, in front of me now, and I don't focus on the bigger picture, and so I get exhausted. It's like if you're standing in a woods, in front of a tree. When you are face to face with this tree, it is hard to see the sky, or the way out of the forest. But if you were to take one or two steps back, you would understand that the tree is not a dead end, and that there are many ways to get around it and out of the forest. You need not stand there all day, staring at the tree. :D
This week, we met the mother of a member in Kofu Ward (who is also the grandmother of an Elder in our mission!) she lives in Otsuki, which means Big Moon. Her house is so Japanese. Really really Japanese. And 200-300 years old!
Her daughter's house, which is actually on the edge of Kofu City is also very traditional Japanese style. The kotatsu, which is a table with a heater under it, covered in blankets, was really traditional. In older homes, underneath the kotatsu is a hole, about two feet down, and square, so that people can stick their legs down and sit comfortably. At the house of the daughter, the heater is not electric--it is by actual live coals, underneath a grate. You set your feet on the grate, and that way you don't burn your feet! That was pretty interesting!
Then we visited the home of another couple in our Ward this week, who have a newer house, only 40 years old, which is half western style, and half traditional Japanese style.
So, lately, I have been getting super depressed! Frustrated, brick wall feeling. The only problem is--there are no brick walls! I realize that the adversary always tries to spoil good times for us. The Ward has never been so awesome, and the missionary work here is moving forward, and so, here I am, just wondering 'what on earth I have to frustrated about?' So, last night, I read the scriptures. There was nothing in the particular place that I was reading that jumped out to me, but just reading the scriptures was good.
Also, this morning, during study time, I decided to read the vision our mission president has for our mission. It's still slow going, but one day, it will be so amazing, this tiny mission! And all the missions in Japan. When then Elder Heber J Grant dedicated Japan for missionary work back in 1901, these are the words he spoke to the First Presidency when he had accomplished the sacred assignment,
“I have an abiding faith that this is to be one of the most successful missions of the Church. The work will be slow at first, but the harvest is to be something great and will astonish the world in the years to come. God has had His hand over this land.”
Love you all! Have a great week! I know the Lord loves us, and He will lift up our burdens. Just trust in Him!In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.