Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Shenanigans Before Getting Sick :(

Well I am here in Kamiooka! I sent my bags a couple days before my transfer, thinking that I would have them in Kamiooka when I arrived. I also put all of my warmest gear in the bags because it wasn't that cold at the time. Well, it got really cold the second day here and my bags didn't come until today. Right now I am suffering from the craziest cold I have ever had. It's killing me. It is hard to move and light and sound make my head feel worse than it already does. I have the chills and it hurts to touch things because for some reason my skin feels raw. I am also sweating a lot despite having the chills. Which is making it worse. I feel awful because I am supposed to be setting a really good example of hard work and obedience for my companion who is struggling with those things and right now I just can't. That is the worst part I think. Plus right now is the best time to get out and talk to people about Jesus! That is too good of an opportunity to miss for a stupid cold! This is really annoying and it makes me wonder why. Why would God put me through this silliness. It seems like such a waste of such precious and crucial time!

Sorry my email is awful. I am going to go sleep now. Love y'all!

Elder Siebach

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Cigarette-Smoke Sermon

Hello family!

This will be my real email to all y'all! As you can see, I am transferring out of my beloved Hachioji to an area called Kamiooka (上大岡) which means "on top of big hills". It stays true to its name and is known as the hilliest area in my mission! So my legs get to be massive again! Yay! Also I hear that the view out of my apartment is gorgeous so get ready for some wonderful vistas of Fuji and stuff!

So this transfer is a sad one in that all of the sisters that came to Japan with me are going home. There are three of them and they have had incredible missions. They have all become legends in the mission with baptisms and how many people they have trained! They will be sorely missed! If I remember, I will attach a picture that has them in it! You will recognize them from my MTC pictures!

This week we had a lot of lessons with a lot of really good people. I went on splits with an Elder named Nakamoto. He is doing very well. We went and visited one of our investigators and found a lot of very unusual stuff in his apartment on top of a huge mess. We tried to help him clean but he wouldn't let us so I stood in the middle of
this huge mess in a one room apartment with cigarette smoke so thick you could hardly see through and preached to him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the sacrament and keeping the Sabbath Day holy. He knelt in seiza the entire time listening. My companion took the opportunity to clean and organize the room a little bit because our
investigator wasn't paying attention to him. It was a really strange scene I'm sure, but we learned a lot about him and helped him a lot that night. We came out of there smelling like heavy smokers and I had a cough for a few days following. Smoking will NEVER be appealing to me!

I have to go, but hey, I love y'all and hope you are having a Merry Christmas! Y'all're the best!

Elder Siebach

The awesome Sisters from my MTC group getting ready to go home

Hachioji members

Monday, December 7, 2015

Are We Not All Angels Sent From a Heavenly Home?

Hello everyone!

I hope you're having sweet dreams right now! This week was pretty tough! I feel like I was sitting on my butt for a lot of it (which is never a good feeling) and it turns out I was! We had a lot of meetings to attend! But hey now Zone Conference and MLC are over with! President Wada has gone around the mission unveiling some big changes in the way we dendo and teach. This way is a lot more focused on teaching and baptism! I am really excited to see how the mission changes from here! I was also informed by Mom that my year and a half mark passed a couple weeks ago. That wasn't very exciting! I figured by this point I would have everything figured out, but I still feel like a trainee! 

This week we found and taught a bunch of new investigators and invited a bunch of people to be baptized! No one said no and one made a date! He is from China and really wants to get baptized on the 26th of December! That is exciting! 

This week we had a lot of meetings and so there were lots of opportunities to receive some solid revelation for myself, my investigators, and the Zone! 

Other than that, the other Elders in my apartment continue to be lazy and disobedient. They get distracted by their own desires and forget about their investigators, many of whom need a LOT of help to reach their baptismal dates. I feel like I have tried everything to help them, but they don't listen and/or get angry whenever I try. I am not sure what to do, but the relationship between our companionships is severely strained and the atmosphere in the apartment and when we are together is no good. I am sure that both of them would love to see me go!

One scripture that I found recently that has a lot to do with my thoughts about obedience and what needs to happen in my apartment is 3 Nephi 27:13. It says, 

"13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you--that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me."

When I read that scripture the very last phrase sunk deep into my heart. "...because my father sent me." Something that Christ says about himself a lot is that he was obedient to everything that the Father would have him do. To introduce himself to the Nephites he says,

"...I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning." -3 Nephi 11:11

He was perfectly obedient, but in that first scripture (3 Nephi 27:13) he explains a little bit about why he is obedient and what his purpose is. He came and did the Father's will because he was sent by the Father. He did what the Father told him, not because he was there for the purpose of doing what he wanted, but what the Father wanted. Usually you don't send people places without something that you want them to do. Likewise, we are all here because God sent us here. We are not here to do what we want, but what the Father wants. Missionaries have all been called to their mission and their specific area and companion to do what God would have them do. On a wider scale, everyone alive has been sent by God from the Spirit World to this earth, and because He sent us, we are to do His will. I love that simple logic that Christ uses.

The Japanese word for angel is tenshi (天使) which means heaven (天) and "to send on a mission", messenger, envoy, ambassador (使). An angel, while it has the image of a shining white dude with wings, is literally something sent on a mission from heaven. Is this not all of us? Have we not all been sent from our heavenly home with a purpose? That purpose is written in the scriptures and can be known through prayer and study. For a missionary, it is also written clearly in the white handbook. 

We are all sent from the Loving arms of our Heavenly Father, by Him, to accomplish a wonderful work. We are all to be doing the work of angels. Should we not do it? After all, we were sent by God.

Those are my thoughts! I love you all! Sweet Dreams!

Elder Siebach


P.p.s. We are allowed to skype for 45 minutes on the 24, 25, or 26. Currently I don't have any plans for those days besides a baptism on the 26th! Let me know what works best and we can begin coordinating schedules and time differences!

P.p.p.s. Love y'all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Proving Myself on the Dark Days

Hello my beloved family!

I forgot to let you know that we have our temple Pday today! Sorry! This past week was pretty dang good! I broke my record for lessons taught in a week! We had 25! That was fun. It was also exhausting! This coming week we will have about 25 hours worth of meetings to attend. That is going to destroy our time to find and to teach. We have a lot of people waiting for appointments, but we just don't have the time to get to all of them! That is a problem I never thought I would have to deal with on my mission. Today we went to the temple. There were over 50 missionaries there. You would think that it would be fun to be able to see a bunch of people after a long time and stuff like that. That is certainly what it was like in the first half of my mission, but having that many missionaries together means everyone has a ton of people that they have to talk to and it is really loud and irreverent and becomes really hard to feel the Spirit. The temple becomes social time and not a spiritually rejuvenating experience. Kind of disappointing.

Mom! I am so sorry! I forgot to thank you for the package! Thank you so much! That candy has now been distributed among all of my investigators, a bunch of members and even more primary kids! Thanks for that!

This week Elder Maurer and I decided to ride bikes to a district meeting in the next area over. We were running a little late so I started going faster and hit a huge rock. That jammed my seat painfully in between my legs and shredded the tire and inner tube. That was a bummer. We walked/ran the remaining 45 minutes to arrive a solid 30 minutes late.

This week I went on splits twice. The first time we taught 5 lessons that day and then the second splits we found 3 new investigators. It seems like miracles always happen on splits! This past week we had very little time to get out and find, but when we did God led us straight to the people he wanted us to meet. It was pretty exciting. When we were planning we felt we needed to go to a specific station. We looked at the members that lived there, felt a prompting to see a specific member. We visited her the next day and she told us where a less active had once lived but moved. We felt strongly that we should go 'house' that specific apartment building. We went there and found three new investigators. That day was a refreshing day of solid guidance and impressions from the Lord that allowed us to be the tools through which God worked His wonders.

I have learned on my mission that there are a few bright days where You feel like you are working closely with God, and then there are a lot more days that feel a lot more distant and less guided. Those are days for you to prove that you will give your all to follow the instructions that God has already given you. It is kind of like Nephi when he and his brothers were trying to get the plates. In Nephi 3:7 Nephi shows a bunch of belief when he says he will go and do, because he knows that God doesn't give any commands that are impossible. So Nephi "go"es and does his best to "do" two times and fails. That is God testing him. "Do you really believe that I will provide a way for you to keep my commandments?" It is also God bringing about a change in Nephi's heart. He realizes that the only way to accomplish what God wants us to do is to do it God's way. So God teaches Nephi that he needs to work through the Spirit, and Nephi proves to God that he is willing to work and give his all to follow the commands that God has given him so far. That's what life for me has become. I know God expects me to go out, and follow all of the rules, and talk to everyone, and do everything that PMG says, and follow my feelings and do what I think is best, and ultimately accomplish my missionary purpose.(just like how Nephi knew he was supposed to get the plates) I like to think that at that time he is putting people in my path. Then some of the time he sends current, and new directions to do certain things that I wouldn't usually do, and at that time he is leading me (just like Nephi in 1 Nephi 4: 6). It gets frustrating sometimes, just like I am sure it was frustrating to Nephi and his brothers (as evidenced by beating each other with sticks). Hopefully it won't come to that out here :)

I gotta go! Love you!

Elder Siebach