Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Do You Believe in God?

Hello family! 

This past week was pretty good. We had Elder Yamashita, who is a General Authority, come and do a conference. That was great. He gave us a lot of things we can improve and a lot of motivation to do it! One of the things he focused on was baptisms and how we need to have more. I agree! A lot of missionaries here, myself included, come with an expectation to baptize very few or none at all, and to not be able to speak the language ever. That expectation effectively puts a cap on our ability to exercise faith. If we don't go out to find new people to teach with an expectation to find someone to baptize then we probably won't. If we go out with an expectation to plant seeds, never to harvest, then even if we find someone prepared, we will treat them the way we expect them to be, which is uncultivated. Elder Yamashita told us that there are people out there that are ready to be baptized and that we need to attain that mindset. That was great. He then gave a broadcast conference where he trained all of the ward councils in our mission on how to work with missionaries! Good stuff!

Something else we did this week was have a big zone blitz in Hachioji! We had all of the missionaries in the stake, which was actually two zones, come and go on splits with other missionaries and dendo for an hour. We did two rounds of that. My first split was with a missionary that is now working in my old Machida 2 area. We got together, said a prayer, and almost immediately received the clearest revelation I have ever gotten. I knew exactly where we needed to go. Strange as it was, I felt that we needed to walk 10 minutes to the 7-11 and use the bathroom there. I thought that was especially weird because I didn't feel a need to use the bathroom or anything. I asked my companion what he felt and he told me that he wasn't sure, but that he needed to find a bathroom. I was shocked! Quickly we walked straight there and just as we were about to enter the convenience store a man walked out. We stopped him and asked him how he was doing and where he was going. He said he wasn't doing so well and that he was on his way to an AA meeting. He said he had been going for three years and still hadn't broken his addiction. We talked with him some more and asked if he believed in God and Jesus Christ (he had mentioned the fact that AA is a Christian thought-based program). He answered me that no he did not. Using my small knowledge of the AA program I asked him what he does for step 3 (out of 12) because step 3 is to trust in God. He was pretty surprised that I knew what step 3 was, and I was pretty shocked too. He told me he believed in some sort of higher power, but he didn't really have any specific belief. I told him about one of my experiences with repentance and how I couldn't get over it without strengthening my testimony of God and Jesus Christ and what exactly they did and do for me. My companion, through incredibly specific revelation pulled out a Japanese Book of Mormon and opened it to Alma 7. I pointed to the scriptures and bore testimony to the man that that book is the word of God and then told him how I had read this very verse in Alma 7 that helped me overcome the barriers to my repentance. We read them and I bore testimony to him that Christ knows exactly what he is going through, in fact, Christ is the only one that knows what we are going through perfectly. Knowing that allows us to trust him, to exercise faith on correct principles, and to fully repent. Our friend was thoughtful and accepted a Book of Mormon. I hope we get to talk with him again--he had a good spirit about him:)

As I am writing this a scripture I really love comes to mind. In the book of Alma, Amuleck says of Jesus Christ

And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. (Alma 34:15)

Knowing of God and Christ, their attributes, perfections, what they have done for us, what they want for us, what they will do for us, brings the possibility to us that we may exercise faith in them into repentance. If we don't know anything about them then we can't truly exercise faith in them! I have a testimony that Christ lived on this earth, that he healed, taught, performed miracles, suffered in Gethsemane, died on the crossed, resurrected three days later, and that he still lives today. I have a testimony that he, unlike anyone else, has felt the same things that we have felt. Knowing all that makes it possible to believe that he will forgive and heal me and everyone else who believes on his name! 

This week outside of the zone blitz we went on three splits and had great experiences on all of them. We committed an investigator to baptism and plan on committing his girlfriend soon! We like to call them the miracle couple, 'cuz every time we meet with them, it feels like miracles are real. Things are happening here!

Love Y'all! 

Elder Siebach

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