Monday, November 24, 2014

What I Know...

It's been a rough week in which I have been questioning and doubting myself and my ability to be a good missionary.  It's true that I/we can all always be doing more to be what I should be and to be what God wants me to be. That insufficient feeling, the feeling that you aren't good enough to accomplish what is expected of you is never more easily felt than when you are a missionary. Your weaknesses are in very sharp relief due to your own personal judgement and the visible strengths of those around you. Both of these are good things because they are very relevant. The correction and judgment you receive from yourself and missionary leaders is all based on fact and high familiarity with the situation and can be really very constructive. It is good correction and judgement. and I honestly welcome it:) I spent some time scrutinizing everything I have done since arriving in Japan, and despite the fact that it all shows a need for improvement, I feel at peace with it. God knows that I am trying and that it takes time.

I love you all so much. I don't have a lot more time. Right now we have 5 investigators and a lot of people that we are trying to turn into investigators. We are working well with the members and working on reactivation as well. Right now my companion and I are working with two great people that are less active. One of them is coming to church fairly regularly(three times this transfer) and the other one we started working with on Saturday and he has yet to come to church. One of the people I contacted last transfer and started teaching, now has a baptismal date for December 6th. That is two days after transfers, so I hope I get to be here to see it.

Today we went on a hike from Kamakura to Enoshima with all of the youth in our ward. It was a great experience and we have built some great relationships with the younger people and their advisors. We are certainly working hard and beginning to see the fruits of our labors. I have had a pretty bad headache pretty much everyday of this transfer starting in the first week. Sometimes it is painful to walk outside when it is bright, trains are also a little loud. Luckily it has not been enough to stop us.

I know that God loves us and I know that he is watching over us. I can feel him strengthening me when I am weak (all the time) and tired (all the time) and insufficient (all the time). I have seen some pretty amazing miracles this transfer and all of them have served to strengthen my testimony. I have been blessed to see the scriptures from a new perspective and glean greater understanding from that. I know that God's eye is on us. I know that he is cheering for us and heaping blessing upon us. I know that this is his work. I know that we are all His children and we all have incredible potential. I know that if we look at others as what they can become we can help them to reach that. I love you all and I hope you are all doing well.

- Siebach 長老

Monday, November 17, 2014

They Forsook Their Nets

My dearly beloved family!  Love Y'all! 😍

So this week was pretty good. We have had a lot of fun and seen a lot of miracles. Yesterday we went housing for a couple hours and we were able to accomplish our purpose many times over. Unfortunately no investigators have come from the work so far, but we were still able to invite a lot of people to learn about the church. In PMG (Preach My Gospel) we learn that success is achieved when you present a very clear decision to people that have been well informed on the matter. Unfortunately from that point we can do anything, we just hope that people make good choices with their agency. We were able to do that many times yesterday. I am getting a little short on time, so I
will share a quick thought.

Recently I have been studying Mark and I came across a scripture that you've probably all read many times. It is Mark 1:18 where it says "and straightway they forsook their nets and followed him."

I started to think about that verse and I saw it in a way I have never seen before. Normally I might read this verse (and verses like it) and conclude that their nets are the tools they use to provide for
themselves. Obviously this is the right conclusion; that is in fact what they are doing. I like that perspective. They dropped everything and followed the Lord. That mind state of faith and almost reckless willingness to follow the lord is certainly something to emulate. However, there is another perspective. I started thinking about what else nets do. They entangle, ensnare, hinder, and in some cases (especially with regards to fish) they lead to death. I looked up the word 'net' and this definition caught my eye: a net is a system or procedure used to ensnare or trap someone/thing. If I read the scripture and the apostles are the objects of the ensnaring and entrapping mechanism, that's something new to think about. Has Christ ever called on me to follow him, but I am ensnared, trapped and hindered by sin and regret. Christ said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!"(Luke 13:34).

He is always calling unto us, always reaching out, always patiently waiting for us to forsake our nets and follow him. I love that! I want to forsake my nets, I want to let go of my sins, my regrets, my safety, and my comfort. I want to become a fisher of men. I want to invite and help others come unto Christ. I want to leave the nets of the worldly in order to better follow Christ! Sometimes I just need a little reminder:)

Anyways! Love Y'all! Hope you're doing well! WRITE ME!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lunchtime Shenanigans

Hi Everyone!

Today we went and had lunch with a man who is a great photographer. He wanted to snap a few pics after the meal so these are a couple of them! I am so sorry about this week but I have almost no time to write--only enough to send off a few lines. Thank you all for writing to me! Your letters are wonderful! I'm glad to hear that everyone's doing well! Love you guys so much! I promise I will send a longer letter next week!
I love you all! You're the best!

Siebach 長老

Monday, November 3, 2014

Temple Week

Kanji: Japanese character for "Love"

I am on the train back from the temple right now. We had a great session conducted for the first time entirely in Japanese! I understood it pretty well, so that is pretty exciting! It is far easier right now for me to understand Japanese than to actually speak it. I don't think in a Japanese way yet. It is coming slowly but surely though! Ugh!

I would like to get a beginning kanji book so I can start studying the characters, but we have some funny rules here in the mission. We aren't supposed to go into any book or electronic stores because Inappropriate pictures and videos are too prevalent there. It's too bad. Otherwise it would be super easy to walk right in a grab one. Here's another one: at least in the Tokyo missions, we are not allowed to talk alone to women. It puts out a very bad image. If they talk to us we need to keep it simple, brief and straight forward, and hope to set up a time to meet together with them and their husbands or turn them over to the sisters.

Well I love you all and hope everything is going well with everyone. Thank you for the emails! You're the bomb!

                                                     Love, Siebach Choro