Monday, March 23, 2015

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Hello family! 

How are y'all? Is everyone genki? I'm doing pretty well! This week was really awesome. The weather was pretty good so I went out with no coat or sweater! It was so nice! The big highlight of the week was the Nelson conference that we had. Unfortunately a lot of it was kind of lame. For example a man got up and told us about all of the new restrictions on iPads for an hour... That was hard to sit through. But there were some incredible parts as well! Elder Nelson shared some wonderful thoughts and then Elder Evans of the 70 shared a wonderful talk as well! I think that my favorite part of the conference was having the opportunity to stand with 11 other elders in front of 450 missionaries, an apostle, and various members of the seventy, and sing my heart out. We sang "Praise to the Lord the Almighty" and it was amazing. I felt the spirit so strongly as we belted those wonderful lyrics. That song is 4 verses entirely devoted to praising the Lord. I love it and I could feel the spirit carry the words to my heart. It was an incredible experience. That is definitely one of my favorite hymns of all time.

So we got new iPads and these ones don't have Facebook. It is kind of interesting, we were a test mission that was given iPads and Facebook to see how we did. All of the test missions did well enough so now iPads are being rolled out to a lot of missions, but Facebook will be rolled out a little later when missionaries get used to having and using iPads. Because we are no longer testing it we get to be bumped back to where everyone else seems to be, which is without Facebook. So that is kind of a bummer... We will get it back eventually. It is really inconvenient because there are a lot of old investigators and potential investigators that I was keeping in contact with via Facebook. Now that I don't have it I can't talk to them anymore. I hope they don't think that I am too rude! Anyways, that is that! The new iPads are black and have greater memory. Plus they gave us new cases that are see through. So now I have a picture of the family in my case that I can show people! It is pretty amazing how effective it is to show people pictures of your family. They love that here in Japan!

Let's see... Other highlights... We (my companion and I)had two investigators and a less active come to church, that plus the other less active that the other elders brought made our gospel principles class more full than usual. There was also a baptism for an 8 year old yesterday that we brought some people to, and that was really great too. A lot of people came to that.

Something that missionaries struggle with here is people that look at religion as a system of morals. Religion, at least to a lot of people I have met is a way of thinking as opposed to a way of finding truth and happiness. Right now we have an investigator who struggles a lot with this very issue. He is caught into some morally relativistic belief that whatever he likes, whatever he thinks is right is truth for him. His search for truth, instead of an x marks the spot treasure hunt, is more like walking through a candy shop and choosing whatever tastes the best and is easiest to chew. I know and testify that there is truth, there is a right and a wrong that is not relative to the individual but universal. While that feels like coercion, or a limit to their freedom, it is in fact liberating. It is a road map that leads to so much more than the moral self gratification of existentialism. It is the road map to everlasting joy and eternal life. I would turn your attention to the experience of Joseph Smith, when he, like everyone, found himself lacking wisdom. When he, like everyone, found himself surrounded by a tumult of opinions. He, as we all must do, went to the source of truth, he acted on faith and prayed to our Heavenly Father, who will give to all men liberally when they ask.

I don't know why, but I felt like I should share that! Hope you don't mind:) I love you all! Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Elder Siebach

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