Monday, May 25, 2015

No Time!

Dear Family,

I've seen a bunch of miracles this week! These are two investigators that we found this week. I have so little time, I will send out some pictures and then hopefully be able to write an email later and get it out tonight! Sorry! 

Love you!
Elder Siebach

Going on splits

Teaching our brand new investigator

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

If God Commanded Me to Do All Things I Could Do Them

Hi Family!

The famous Great Wave of Kanagawa

So big news, I got transferred to Kanagawa (which is right next to Kohoku, my old area, and even uses the same church building). There are a few familiar faces here: Elder Wright, my first companion in Fuchu, along with a sister that was in my first district ever, are both here as well! I'm excited to be here! My companion's name is Elder Matsumoto. He is from Japan and he has only been out for one transfer, so I get to "follow-up train" him while seeing just how awful my Japanese is--haha! He is great, I'm really excited for this transfer!

Map of Kanagawa Prefecture

Last week I went on splits with an AP over in another area in the mission. That was really fun, and we had some neat experiences...until he sliced off a little bit of the tip of his pinky and it wouldn't stop bleeding for a long time. The next day (while his pinky was still bleeding) we went out again and saw more miracles. It was really great! I feel like I learned a lot! Sometimes it is nice to be a missionary with someone who has far more experience than you do.

We decided to drop our investigator that had a baptismal date. He didn't show up to two lessons last week and then missed his baptismal date. It's pretty sad, and he's obviously not ready yet, but I really do think that he will still get baptized someday!

In other news, I GOT TO TALK WITH Y'ALL! That was so fun! Thanks for being so awesome! I really loved chit-chatting with you! I am glad to see that y'all are happy and healthy, and it sounds like Spencer is happy as well!

I was reading in the Scriptures a couple weeks ago and felt like I should begin reading from the beginning of the Book of Mormon again. I have found so many wonderful scriptures from this endeavor, I am so grateful that I did it! I have a bunch of them marked and a bunch that I want to use while I am talking to people, but the one I want to share now is from 1 Nephi 17. Nephi is trying to build a ship and his brothers are telling him that he can't do it. Then Nephi recounts the history of Israel, commands them not to touch him or they will wither, and then writes,

50 And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I
could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this
water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it
would be done.

51 And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many
miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct
me, that I should build a ship?

When I read this I thought about myself and how I am trying to be an instrument in the Lord's hands, and I realized that I don't act like I believe these words. I don't act as if I believe that if God were to command me to do something, I could do it. I believe it, or at least I think I do, but the fact that I don't act like I believe is pretty telling to me. It tells me that there is a lot of progress to be made with regards to my faith. I realized that in my lack of faith, I limit God's ability to use me as an instrument to bless people. God isn't going to let me see miracles if I don't actually believe he can do them in the first place. 

There are a lot of things people say about missionary work in Japan: how hard it is, or how it is almost a waste of time, and in some ways, honestly, those things are true. It IS hard, and the work IS slow. But I feel like it is essentially the same story everywhere to some degree. If we are wasting our time trying to convert the people that aren't prepared, or working inefficiently, then we will get nowhere. I know there are prepared people here! I have seen, and spoken with, and found them. I now resolve to do everything that I can to demonstrate a belief in what I haven't believed and to not let my faith be a hinderance.

I hope everyone is doing well! Love you all!

Elder Siebach

Monday, May 11, 2015

That smile!!!!

We got to Skype with Sterling the evening after Mother's Day. Worth the wait to see that smile!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What We Did on P-Day Instead of Calling Home for Mother's Day

Climbing a Mountain with our investigator!

Just how much "climbing" did they really do???

A fun excursion on a beautiful day:)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mother's Day is Approaching!!!

Looking forward to talking to y'all on Monday night at 7pm (your time)! Until then, here's a little video to get us through...:) Love You!!!

Getting ready for the Mother's Day Skype

Monday, May 4, 2015

God Prompted You to Talk to Me

Hello family!

Hope you're all doing well! I hear Mom is sick! What the heck! It is The Month of Mom (with a side of Spencer on Saturday--Happy Birthday Bro!)! That's just not right! I will pray for her!

I'm doing pretty well. Can't really complain! The weather is beautiful here. I am currently sitting in a park next to a river writing this email. The wind is swishing through the grass below and the trees above and the birds are flying around. It's a very peaceful day.

This week has been really great with a lot of highlights. We were able to meet with our investigator that has a baptismal date just about every day. My companion and I actually just finished teaching him about enduring to the end. That is the last part of the fifth lesson. He is all ready for his baptismal interview coming up this week.

We were not able to meet with any of our other investigators though which is pretty frustrating. We will get with them soon, though, I'm sure. With that being said, we have had a lot of time for finding, during which we saw a lot of miracles. One outstanding one happened last night. We had about thirty minutes before a lesson with a less active member, so we went housing around the church. Nobody was interested (they have probably all been talked to many times by missionaries). My companion and I felt like we were wasting time but we had felt inspired to do that kind of finding. So we continued and just as we called it quits and turned back to go to the church for our lesson, we saw a friendly looking man walking toward us. We stopped him and talked to him for a long time. There were a lot of little miracles during the conversation that led to me, especially, being able to build a good relationship with him. We ended up testifying to him about the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. He took it and asked us for our contact information! He then said the most amazing thing that I have ever heard from a nonmember Japanese person. He said he believes that God prompted him to go for a walk, and prompted us to go out and do housing, and then he said to us, "God prompted you to talk to me." I was shocked and then told him that I believe the same thing. 

I have seen over and over again the hand of the Lord postponing me. Prompting me to do something that appears to not be effective at all, but that puts me in the path of someone who has been prepared. Sometimes I wish that He would do it in a way that doesn't seem to waste so much time! If only he would just send me directly to the person so that I can help them, get it done, and head out to the next person I need to help, but I don't think that way would require me to exercise faith. The faith is in the persevering to the end; in following what seems to be a dead-end prompting until God gives you a witness and validates your faith with a miracle. It has taken me a long time to learn that, and seems to be thoroughly against my nature to work that way. I would love to quickly and efficiently get things done, but that doesn't seem to be the way the Lord wants me to go right now. Patience. I have a LOT to learn.

Love you all! Gotta go!

Elder Siebach