While America sleeps, Japan is up and going, just waiting to hear the happy message that we have to share.
This week we have more than doubled our potential investigator pool!! Sister Lowry and I are way excited about that.
Yesterday, we were going to meet with a Phillipean lady named Julie. However, she didn't show up to our appointment at the designated time. I reminded Sister Lowry that I had prayed to see a miracle today and asked her if we could pray. We prayed, and waited for Julie for another 15 minutes, but she never did show up. The miracle may have not occurred with Julie, but the Lord had a different miracle in mind for the day. A couple of days ago, I found a man in a really old area book who was taught several years ago. I called him tonight and was able to set up an appointment with him. We had a really good conversation over the phone (which is really unusual for a Japanese phone conversation. Typically they try to get straight to the point and then be done). He told me about what he thought the purpose of life was. He said our purpose is to make the most out of life. We are to rejoice and be "genki" all the time. We talked about the importance of respecting yourself. When you respect yourself, others will respect you. I told him that our purpose in life is to do God's will, and he agreed. This is the miracle we witnessed today. The miracle wasn't one we were expecting, but it came. I believe in miracles...always.日本はきせきの地ですよ。 （Japan is a land of miracles.)
Next Sunday we have a baptism in our area. The Elders have been teaching him for quite a while and you will never meet anyone so golden!! Ogaki-san is one of the coolest men I've ever met. It has been so much fun to watch him learn and grow, especially during our Sunday School class. He studies so hard and always wants to do good. What an incredible example to everyone, especially the ward. Sister Lowry and I are going to be singing at his baptism and we are really excited. We are hoping to get some of our investigators to come as well. I'm so incredibly excited for Ogaki-san and for those angels who are rejoicing with us on the other side of the veil.
This week I have developed a deeper commitment to do what the Lord wants me to do. Here's some of the notes I have taken during my early morning study that I hope will help each of us develop a greater desire to "surrender ourselves" to the Lord. You can choose the kind of person you become. Your greatest creation is you. We each live in a house that was built from a plan. Someone first envisioned the house and then put in to paper. You not only can change, but do change all the time. You are responsible for who you are and you are responsible for who you will become. This life is a path upon which you never stand still. Integrity, being honest, is huge. The purpose and central blessing of life is change. You must surrender your will to the Lord. If your works are good and your heart is good, you will be restored to that which is good. He cannot work with what He doesn't have and He cannot have you unless you give yourself to Him. The desires of your heart are soooo important. Get your head right and your heart will follow. Become a cheerful giver. You cannot be changed to become like Him against your will. The Lord says, "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want you. Say to the Lord: I give up. I surrender. One of the best swimmers once said, "I kick when I don't want to kick, and I stroke when I don't want to stroke." In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have. If you give your time and your strength, you give only that which He grants to you with each beat of your heart and each breath that you draw. If you dedicate your gifts and talents, you only return to Him what He already has given to you. If you pay tithing, you only return to Him a tenth of what he has already given to you. Everything that you have to give to the Lord, has its origin in Him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to Him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. And so when you give yourself, you truly give everything to Him. The only really intelligent thing to do is to completely surrender yourself to the Lord. When you understand that, then you will forget about yourself, and your will, and your only desire will be to do the Lord's will. There is really only one intelligent way to serve, to live, and to be. That way is through Christ himself. However merciful He is to give us one way to go that is clearly laid out for us to follow.
This past week I asked President Budge what he thought needed to happen in the Kasukabe area. He said that he envisioned letting university age students hear our message. I told Sister Lowry this and we think it will be effective to visit a Daigakku (college) this week and talking with people who are more our age. We have received several member referrals over the past couple of weeks for which I am so grateful. The ward means everything to me. When we work together, we are unstoppable!!
I know that this gospel is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God. I know that. I know families are forever. I know where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. I know that this church is run through continuous revelation. Without revelation and inspiration, our church cannot survive. With revelation and Divine inspiration, our church cannot fail.
Well, my times just about up. I hope you all have another wonderful week!! You are always in my heart and prayers.
Love you all!
きよつけて （Take Care),