Monday, August 11, 2014

I Am Not Ashamed

After a long, hard bike ride to this gorgeous park
Wow! I am so sorry but I have very little time today! Our p-day seems to be more packed than our usual days! (Ha!--not really!). 

So today was really cool! Last Monday, a week ago today, I met a man named Andy. He is 66 years old, loves tennis and skiing, and speaks some English. We set up a time to go play some tennis today! So he reserved an indoor court. When we showed up, we (all of us, including Andy and his brother--more on him later) were surprised to see that the court was about half the width of a normal court. That was a little bit of a disappointment, but no problem. We met his brother there for the first time. He is 83 years old and really good at tennis! We played for about an hour. I was on Andy's brother's team and my companion was with Andy. It was super fun and we had a great time! Afterwards Andy and his brother invited us to go get coffee with them at the eki (train station). We said we
would love to go and on the way there shared with them what we believe about coffee and the word of wisdom. We chatted for a while. Got to know each other and shared some of our beliefs with them and they shared some of theirs. We were able to find common ground in a lot of things. In all I think we were able to build a strong relationship of trust and strengthen bridges towards sharing more of the gospel with them! I am still just shocked that an 83 year old Nihon-jin was whaling on those tennis balls so well! Incredible!

Street scene in Machida
Something that I have noticed since coming here, and remember from when we lived here, is that the Japanese culture is very closed, very private, and very polite. The people seem so hard to get to know. This is all a product of the extremely close proximity in which they live. There is so little privacy here that they make their own privacy by drawing in on themselves. It is so very different to the culture in America. But when you get through that shell, the Japanese people are the most wonderful, kind, and thoughtful people ever! The Spirit is perfect for getting through that shell. If we have the Spirit with us when we are speaking to people we will always be able to get through to them. No matter the walls they have put up or the culture they come from. It is so important! And all of us can have that Spirit, and we get it by being worthy of it. We study the scriptures and pray a lot. We go to church and listen to the little urgings of the Spirit. That's when I have the spirit with me, and only then can I share this good news.

Posing with my comp, my zone leader, Sato-san, and my district leader
I am so grateful to be here and to serve these wonderful people and to have come to know these truths for myself. All my life people have told me it is important to read, pray, and go to church. I am only now realizing the truth in those words. So I challenge you to try it. Try it for a week or a month and see the difference it can make in your life. My mission president likes to talk about levels of consecration, and doing those things more will certainly raise you up. I believe that's true!

Nice old orange Porsche for Dad:)
Ok my spiritual thought comes from Paul! What a wonderful man. He was so amazing and I just love reading his words. He has such faith. He says in Romans:

"...I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..."

I love that! He is not ashamed! For me it is easy to think "Well same here. I'm not ashamed of the gospel. Here I am proclaiming it 24/7!" And I don't think that I ashamed, but sometimes I might act like I am. Sometimes I let that man pass me without sharing something with him. I rationalize my way out of talking to him about the gospel: "Oh he is
turned away from me slightly," "He doesn't look like the church-y type," "He's walking quickly so he's in a hurry"... Things like this go through my mind and have been going through my mind in relation to my friends and acquaintances for years now. There always seems to be an excuse. Turns out I am regularly ashamed of the gospel. Or at least I act like I am. I want to be like Paul. I want to be like Moroni and Ammon and Alma. I want to be bold in the way I proclaim the gospel. If I truly believe in it, and that it is infinitely important to everyone, my
reservations should never come in the way of their salvation. That's just something that I have realized recently and something that I plan to improve on. 

Anyways, my companion is beckoning at the door--gotta go! I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

-Siebach 長老

No comments:

Post a Comment

I will gladly forward on any comments you'd like to leave for Sterling.