Sunday, April 3, 2016

How the Holy Ghost Can Change a 13-Year-Old Punk

Dear Family,

Well I got through three conference talks during my studies today! I loved all of them! I thought Sister Durham's talk was great! I have thought a lot about how I want to raise children and do my best to remember how my parents raised me. It's a scary thing! Walking around Japan makes me feel almost helpless! They don't have that solid moral background that I got to grow up with. As a result sexual relationships outside of marriage and at a young age, pornography and other things that we would consider immoral are just accepted and even promoted here. They don't teach abstinence to kids in school; they just teach prevention methods! I guess the US is pretty permissive as well, but at least everybody knows deep down that it is wrong. It would be quite the task to raise a child unscathed anywhere I guess. I really appreciated her talk. I need to practice making my missionary apartment a place of spiritual immersion.

Elder Halstrom's talk was also incredibly profound. He hit on a pretty common theme in the Book of Mormon which is to remember. When we are faced with trials and things that might make us question our faith and conviction, we need to remember our identity as a child of God. I think that is so important! I have always loved the 7th verse of How Firm a Foundation and I am always sad when they skip it in sacrament meeting! It's so beautiful! I feel like if it weren't silly the author would have written another verse of "never never never!" I know I would!

This week was long and kind of a struggle. My companion is battling with a severe lack of confidence and realizing that the faith he thought was so strong in the MTC is not nearly strong enough out here. I feel like that is common, but every time I offer him a blessing or ask if he is praying for help he says "Why would I do that if I don't have faith that it will actually help me?" I have done my fair share of testifying, reading the scriptures, even praying for him in English so that he can understand what I am feeling for him. I'm also doing my best to give him faith promoting experiences. He is lucky he came to a companionship with investigators and stuff. Very few companionships are like that and all they do is find. That's how my trainee experience was. It was such a grind! But on Friday I asked Elder H to invite our investigator to be baptized, and though he struggled through the invitation, our investigator said yes! Elder H was on cloud nine for the rest of the day! I think that was a good moment for him! 

But the BIG miracle this week came in the form of our beloved little recent convert Rakan, the 13-year-old punk that I told y'all about! If you were to ask him how he felt when he got baptized he would say, "Nothing special." If you were to ask him why he got baptized he would say "To pass out bread and water with my friends." If you were to ask him what changes he has seen since being baptized he would tell you there are none. But yesterday I came to know that he has changed! He asked a question during young men's that made me want to cry (I may or may not have let a tear or two go). He asked the teacher this "How can I beer my testimony like him (pointed at me) so that I can help my friends learn about God and Jesus Christ?" I know that the gospel, and the Holy Ghost changes the people that allow them to! If it can change that little punk even a little bit then it can change anyone! I am so excited to get a letter in a few years saying that he got his mission call. I know that someday he will be a very powerful missionary! That's just so exciting to me! 

Well I hope that all is well on the Homefront! I sure do love you all! It was pointed out to me that yesterday was my second to last fast Sunday in Japan. That's a very bitter and very sweet feeling! I can't wait to see Y'all again but I'm not ready yet!! Stay golden!

Elder Siebach

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