Hello wonderful family!
It sounds like all is well on the western front. I can tell you right now we are seeing a lot of miracles here on the eastern front!
I talked a little bit about a couple that we found here while on splits. They are awesome! We have taught them about God and gotten them praying regularly now which is fantastic. They both are feeling God's love and wanting to improve. Next comes the rest of lesson one! The girlfriend is going especially quickly and teaching herself by looking at all of the church websites! She sent me a bunch of inspirational pictures that the church posts and told me she thinks it is awesome. She also asked me if she had to learn Hebrew in order to pray to God in a language that he can understand. I laughed and promised her that he will understand her no matter what language she uses! It was very funny!
This week I also was called in to the headquarters to go on splits with some youth. Potential missionaries from all over this area of Japan gathered and got paired up with missionaries to go out and do finding for a couple hours. I got paired with a 16 year old and I fear I might have walked him to death (see photo below for evidence!) There was a testimony meeting immediately following the finding time, during all of which he was asleep... But we had some pretty neat experiences together!
Recently I have been learning a lot about changes of the heart. Changes of the heart are really what it is all about! In repentance if the heart doesn't change then repentance has not been done correctly. Repentance is really just the process through which we slowly but surely turn ourselves from the "natural man" to align ourselves with God. Our natures, our very being, has to change for that to happen.
And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
That scripture says that all mankind has to change, all mankind has to become new creatures, if they want to inherit the kingdom of heaven. I have a testimony that the Spirit and the power of the atonement can change our very natures if we let it. It can change our thoughts, desires, appetites, instincts, and weaknesses, if we let it. I have taught (poorly) people about the commandments and watched as they tried to cram the natural man with all of its imperfections into the mold of one of these "new creatures". I have watched them do their best to clean the outer vessel with the inner vessel still filthy, and so I have seen them fail and forsake the God that they were just coming to know. It turns out that their efforts didn't sink deeper than the surface. They were merely cosmetic changes to put up the facade of deeper change. I have done the same thing. I have done my best to look the part of a saint while having the inside of a natural man. I have felt the frustration and impossibility of the task. I have cried and wanted to give up. But I have seen some people change. I have seen some people cry mightily unto God. I have seen some sacrifice their pride, their desire to do it alone, and reach out to their Father in Heaven. For them, fitting the mold of a saint is easy because they have become saints or they are becoming. I can't say that I am there. I can say that I have changed a lot, though not nearly enough. My inside is still a work in progress. But I believe it can be done. I believe that through the assistance of our Savior a mighty change can be wrought, one that is infinitely greater than anything we could do on our own. I have seen it done! Someday I hope to become a pro at changing my heart!
Love you all!