How are you!? Life here in Japan is going pretty well. Elder Maurer and I have had a pretty good couple weeks, we are getting ready for a zone meetingand have a lot of preparing to do. Our investigators are doing alright. One of them just dropped us for a little while. She said that she was feeling torn apart by her family's Buddhism and her desires to believe what we were teaching. That's too bad... But we will meet her again soon. We had a bunch of great experiences including a marathon lesson day . We got to teach 6 lessons, four with different members! That was a great!
Today we had a conference call with all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders. We have this every week, but today we got ripped apart a little bit by President Wada. That was a little fiery, but something we all needed! If you don't come away from meetings like that with some changes you have to make, or a call to repentance, then they aren't worth the time!
It sounds like there are some crazy things happening in France. All of the Japanese people I meet on the street are asking what I think about it. I have little to no idea what is going on there, but what I do know doesn't sound good at all.
This week we taught A, whose father is Muslim and very opposed to his son joining the church. We felt like we needed to read 1 Nephi 4 with him, Nephi is commanded to kill Laban. I have taught many people who find it hard to get over that scripture and the demands that God makes of Nephi. They find it hard to believe that God would ever do that to one of his children. With those negative experiences and background, I immediately threw that idea out the window and kept searching for something else to share. That idea continued to come into my mind and so I decided that that was the way we were going to go. It turns out that the member who accompanied us on the lesson really connected with this story back when he was investigating the church. He shared his own experience about how sometimes we are called to sacrifice something for something better. That sacrifice is, or can be, a huge test of faith. It is a test of faith in Jesus Christ and his ability to fulfill promised blessings.
I want to talk a little bit about that sacrifice and the Faith and hope that we should have. In Nephi's case he is called to sacrifice Laban's life, as well as put his own emotional and spiritual worthiness on the line, in the hopes that the brass plates would be a means to bringing many of his posterity unto Christ. Our friend A is called to sacrifice his relationship with his father as he knows it, in order to receive the blessings promised to those who receive baptism and endure to the end. That takes a lot of faith, but if it is true, it is the most wonderful and valuable prize you could ever get.
I love the scripture in Moroni 7
41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
That is the hope A needs to have. That is the hope we have. In the end that's really what everything we do is for. And that hope is fulfilled when we believe in the character of Christ (perfection, honesty, actual redemptive power,etc...) and act upon that belief. When we believe and look up, as the Japanese word for faith means. We look up to him for hope, we look to him for an example, we look to him for healing and for aid, we look to him in trust and belief in his word, and we look to him in gratitude and anticipation for our place by his side that he has prepared for us. When I think of what he has done, is doing, and will continue to do for me, I am so grateful. I always think of this song.
1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!
Join the great throng,
Psaltery, organ and song,
Sounding in glad adoration!
2. Praise to the Lord! Over all things he gloriously reigneth.
Borne as on eagle wings, safely his Saints he sustaineth.
Hast thou not seen
How all thou needest hath been
Granted in what he ordaineth?
3. Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy way and defend thee.
Surely his goodness and mercy shall ever attend thee.
What the Almighty can do,
Who with his love doth befriend thee.
4. Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath breath, join with Abraham’s seed to adore him!
Let the “AMEN”
Sum all our praises again,
Now as we worship before him.
What a wonderful gospel we bear and what a wonderful promise we preach. I Love the Lord!