Sunday, September 20, 2015

09/20/2015 | A long week. A rainy week. A good week.

A long week. A rainy week. A good week. An I'm tired week. So in other words. A normal week. Yay!!!! 

Muroran Japan

This past week was RAINY. Being next to the ocean, the rain is pretty heavy here. Don't worry though, it's nothing near as bad as what happened down in other parts of Japan. So something fun we did this week. In trying to think of better ways we could befriend people to help them see us as more than the "join our church" kind of people, we thought about playing games with them. Not sports, because it's hard to have a conversation while playing sports, but card games and board games. Some of my best memories and conversations have been while playing goofy fun games with my family. Probably some of the best bonding time we've had to. Also a great way to put down the electronic screens, and take a break. So in thinking of this we decided to purchase a board game to play with investigators and such. We got a game called "The Settlers of Cataan." It is a way fun game, that I highly recommend to anyone. However, we messed up. We wound up accidentally purchasing the set that is like a "Booster pack" to add to the normal set so that you can play 5-6 people instead of 1-4. So we didn't have everything we needed to play, and when we went back looking for the normal set, we couldn't find it. And it turns out it is nowhere in all of Muroran. So what do we do, Well of course we cut up some cardboard, and using our memories build the pieces we didn't have out of cardboard, and paper. And guess what. It totally works. Elder Numano and I have played it quite a few times now during meals, and before bed. We keep trying to play it with others, but so far it hasn't worked out. I'm certain though that it will help is to make friends. I've given the game a new name too. It is now called "The Settlers of the Ghetto of Cataan" XD

So this past week we had our ZTM. (Zone Training Meeting) and I was asked to translate for the new beans (new missionaries). Fun fact, Sapporo is the only mission (at least in Japan) that does DTM's and ZTM's and Zone Conferences, and other meetings in Japanese. We don't do English here. So because I was translating, I wasn't able to take notes, or take a ton out of it. But one thing I was able to take, was that this year's baptism numbers are low. Last year 2014 there were 66 people baptized in Hokkaido. This year, the goal of all the members in Hokkaido was to
see 166 baptisms. Well it is already Sept. and there have only been 21-23 baptisms this whole year. Why? What happened? Basically what I took from that is that rather than looking at others, and thinking "What could we do better" I look at myself and think "what can I do better?"

Lately I've been studying about Pride. If I were to ask you what the worse sin you can commit is, some of you would say denying the Holy Ghost. Others would say Murder, and some would say Adultery. Others would say, there isn't a "worst" sin. Sin is sin. Well if you think about it though there is one ultimate evil awful the worst sin. That is Pride. If you think about it, If you commit murder, or deny the Holy Ghost, is it not because you are being Prideful? It's pretty hard to murder someone without being prideful. I can think of Nephi, and that's about it. Pride is looking at a situation and thinking "what should I do" rather than looking and it and asking "what would
God have me do" pride is not conforming to the will of God. If you do anything that God wouldn't want you to do, even if it isn't sin, it is prideful. It is thinking that your ways are higher than Gods. Which in that case makes it a sin in and of itself. Anyway, I'm not trying to guilt trip anyone, but I'm sure that everyone is prideful in some area of your life. I of course am. I've found several places I can improve.

So I'd like to give you a challenge. Take the challenge with me. I've decided, to start doing 2 things. The first, is before I make any decision I wait, and ask the spirit to confirm. Is this what God wants me to do? Then I act according to that. I do my absolute best to follow the will of God, and at the end of the day when I Pray, I go over the day. I apologize for the times I could've been better, and promise to try to do better. I also recognize the improvements I've made, and thank Him for the help he gives me to do so. The second, is for whenever I hear someone give me advice, or hear a talk or lesson. Taking from a talk in last year Oct. General conference by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "It was our beloved Savior’s final night in mortality, the evening before He would offer Himself a ransom for all mankind. As He broke bread with His disciples, He said something that must have filled their hearts with great alarm and deep sadness. “One of you shall betray me,” He told them. The disciples didn’t question the truth of what He said. Nor did they look around, point to someone else, and ask, “Is it him?” Instead, “they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?”" "As you hear or read the words of the ancient and modern prophets, refrain from thinking about how the words apply to someone else and ask the simple question: “Lord, is it I?”" Try to humbly check yourself, and fix yourself. Especially as General Conference is coming up, prepare to listen to the Prophets, and rather than immediately thinking a talk isn't for you ask yourself "Lord, is it I?" just as the disciples did. Please prepare for General Conference with questions. If you don't, it makes it harder for them to receive revelation for what you need to hear.

Try taking these 2 steps. It's not easy. But I can promise you that in the end it will be worth it. I'm am so grateful for the knowledge I have been given this early in my life to attempt to clean myself as much as possible before I return and report. I know I've still got a long way to go, but I'm grateful for a loving and merciful God who is full of grace that helps me along the way. To wrap up (I know this is starting to seem like a talk from an ensign, but bear with me) I just
want to share the lyrics of my favorite primary song.

I'm trying to be like Jesus
I'm following in his way
I'm trying to love as he did
In all that I do and say
at times I am tempted to make the wrong choice
but I try to listen as the still small voice whispers
"Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought
For these are the things Jesus taught"

I know that this is the True Church of God on the earth today. I know that this work is his, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. I know the Book of Mormon is his word, and that we can draw closer to God by abiding by its precepts.

I love you all, and hope you don't feel like I just went Preacher mode on ya. Just some things that I had been thinking of. (plus I can never think of what to write about, so it usually comes back to that) ;)

Have a wonderful week, and go make someone smile.
Elder Eliot