Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Faith IN JESUS CHRIST - December 3, 2013

  We went to a Christmas Concert put on by some of the Japan Tokyo Mission missionaries in Matsudo (they have the biggest church in all of Asia...it's seven stories high). Kent Derriott (who is quite famous in Japan), was the narrator of the concert. We brought my Japanese teacher, Tanabe-san. What a great time of the season to help the people of Japan know the true meaning of Christmas.

  Outside of the Japan Tokyo temple at this time of season is this beautiful statue. I LOVE IT!!!
 While I teach Suita Shimai some of the American dishes, she has taught me how to make some Japanese dishes. Japanese food is the BEST!
Ho Ho Ho and a Happy December-can you believe it's already December!!
Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers, letters, and support. I love you all so much. I hope you are enjoying this holiday season-what a wonderful time of the year it is.
This week, I have been studying faith in Jesus Christ. I think that faith is one of the most under-studied topics, but yet it is the first principle of our church. Why is it so important? We are told that faith is a principle of power and that God works according to the faith of men. In particular, I have been studying Elder Jeffery R. Holland's talk: Lord, I Believe. I then read the scriptural account of this story. I think when most people read it, they stop once the boy is healed. However, I find great power in the verses that follow it. After the healing, the disciples ask the Lord why they couldn't heal the boy. The Lord said it was because they were lacking in faith. But with much prayer and fasting, all things are possible.
I also love faith tatoebanashis (object lessons). I try to come up with tatoebanashis all the time because it makes it so much easier to understand a gospel principle. Here's a good one for faith. It's called the trust fall. I think everyone knows what the trust fall is. If you don't, go Google it. Personally, I can't do the trust fall, but that's beside the point. For those who can do the trust fall, they do it super fast and completely trust the other person to catch them. However, even for those who are really good at the trust fall, if they think about it for too long or wait and wonder if they person will really catch them, they become scared and have a much more difficult time with this task. So too is this true with our reliance on the Lord. Just rely on Him now. There is no reason to wait.
As Sister Suita and I were doing weekly planning, we came to the conclusion that this week was going to be huge in the making of our White Christmas. We are not only teaching, but we are working on finding those who will receive us. During personal study, I have been studying finding. After much study and prayer, I took what I thought to be an answer to prayer into our companion study. I told Sister Suita that I saw a park on our mission map that I had never been to and asked her what she thought. We prayed together and decided that we ought to go. It was about a 40 minute bike ride (longer than we had expected) and when we got to the park, there weren't a whole lot of people there. Quite a few children playing soccer or playing on the play ground, but really no parents or grandparents. It was about dinner time, so grabbed a quick meal at Makudonarudo (McDonalds). I told Suita Shimai that we ought to try dendoing (proselyting) around the general area. The Lord needed us here for something, we just had to find out what it was. We chose to go housing at an apartment complex. I don't know if you know this or not, but unlike in America, most Japan houses have speakers by the doorbell. So, you have to try to get them interested by just talking to them over an intercom. I prayed like crazy for the faith to find a kinjin (golden investigator). That was the most successful housing experience I have ever had! One of the first doors we tried, a man came and talked to us for about 10 minutes. Although he already had his religion, he allowed us to share the Restoration of the Gospel with him. About half way through the process, I got some children to open the door. A few seconds later, a man came to the door. We shared the entire Plan of Salvation with him. We talked for about 30 minutes and then his wife came home and we talked with both of them for another 15 minutes. I asked him if I could give him our cell phone number and he wrote it down. Then, he asked me if I was ready for his number!! Incredible! We are going to meet with him again this week. He is interested in learning about our religion. This sweet and humbling experience strengthened my personal testimony of faith. Most of the time, the Lord isn't just going to place miracles right in our path. He has to see that we are going to work for the miracle first.
I know that through faith, miracles are wrought. I love Ether 12. It repeats over and over again that first is faith and then second to it is the miracle. This order is so crucial. The Lord expects us to exercises what faith we do have in order to perform the miracles that He wants so badly to give us.
I love the Savior. I know that He lives and He is very aware of us. Let's continue to go on in the greatest cause-the hastening of God's work. Members are so powerful in missionary work. I have a challenge for all those who read this letter (and don't stop reading even though some of you might want to...). Before Christmas is over, invite some of your friends to learn about the true meaning of Christmas through family home evening, a church Christmas party, or some other creative idea. I know that if you will do this, the Lord will bless you.
All you have to do is Be Strong And Do It (BSADI) :)
One Faith, One Prayer, One Heart, One Baptism...before Christmas,
Yamauchi Shimai

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