Sunday, May 29, 2016

05/29/2016 | Apostles of the Lord

Elder McCreary
This has been an incredible week. Sounds like everyone back at home had fun with their graduation ceremonies. Congrats to all of the new grads of 2016. I wish you all luck as you move onto different
avenues in your lives. #ClassOf2k14wasthebest  

Well let me start off by telling you, if you didn't know, We had a special visit this week from Several General Authorities including, Elder Gong of the Presidency of the 70, Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12, and Elder Cook also of the Quorum of the 12. They were coming up for some sort of check on the area or something. They were also joined by all 3 members of the Area Presidency.
Elder Cook's talk is where I'll put my main focus. 

Elder Cook talked to us about a lot of different things, but the main highlights I would like to share are 2. First of all if you didn't know, Elder Cook was one of the main authors of Preach My Gospel (PMG [missionary teaching book]). He was in the 70 at the time, and was part of the missionary department of the church, so along with Elder Ballard, and others, He wrote the PMG. Therefor, he knows it like the back of his hand. He decided, he wanted to point out 4 "Neon Signs" that he wanted us all to know about. In thinking about these, just as PMG doesn't only apply to missionaries, but members as well, These "Neon Signs" can apply to members as well.

1. "You are branch and ward builders" 
We have all been assigned a Unit. Specifically a Branch or a Ward. We need to help it to grow, now just numbers wise, but spiritually. Obviously having Baptisms helps, but there are so many other things we can do.

2. "You succeed when you invite"
Pg. 10 of PMG talks about this, but as long as we are inviting people to act, we are being successful missionaries. After that, it's their choice, and just as the scripture point out several times, "People
harden their hearts." This of course makes us sad, but it doesn't mean that we've failed.

3. "You are the message"
This is probably the one that can be applied to Member Missionary work the most. (though the previous one is also really good) In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about this

2 Corinthians 3:2-3
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

We are the Epistle of Christ. We need to remember that we are always being watched. At baptism we talk a promise upon ourselves to "be willing to take upon [us] the name of [Gods] son" We are all
representatives of Jesus Christ. Whether or not we have the Badge with the name "etched in the table of stone" We all have his name in our Heart.

4. Focus spiritual power on teaching, planning, and purpose.
This one is more focused towards full time missionaries, but can still be used. When we teach, it is not our words, it is not our message, and it is not our teaching that converts people. It is The Spirit.

D&C 50:13-22
13 Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question--unto what were ye ordained?
14 To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.
15 And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified?
16 Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.
17 Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
18 And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
19 And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20 If it be some other way it is not of God.
21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

Basically, If we aren't working by The Spirit, we aren't working correctly. We need to do everything by The Spirit. That is why obedience is important, is so that we can have The Spirit.

The Second thing that I wanted to mention was his testimony that he gave to us at the end. HE started by talking to us about Spiritual Experiences, and how there are some experiences, just like our
Patriarchal blessings that we don't share all of the details about. Then he proceeded to tell us that the Leaders of the Church still receive such experiences today. Then he says "Without going into any
detail, I know the Lord. I know his voice, I know his face. I know that he lives. I know that he loves us." I don't necessarily know what he was trying to elude to, and my mind can go to all sorts of different ideas, but his was an apostolic witness. It strengthened my testimony, and I hope it might strengthen yours. 

I will add my testimony to his. I may not know his face, or his voice, but I don't need to. I know that he lives. I know that he loves us. I know that he cares about us, and knows each of us BY NAME. He worries about us, he wants to help, and comfort us. He knows that we need experiences, and trials, and oppositions, but his mercy, and his grace, and his charity, are overflowing towards us. This is his
church. He leads us today through his Prophets.

Well I think I will leave it at that for this week. Hope you all have a wonderful week. All you 2016 grads be careful, and don't break anything at all of your parties 😜

Elder Eliot 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

05/22/2019 | 病気週 Sick Week

So... I'm sure you are all really excited to hear about my new area, and my new companion, but... I don't have a lot to tell you. We haven't had a chance to go out to much, because Elder McCreary was
sick for this last weekend. I haven't even had a chance to meet the church members, because we didn't even get to go to church yesterday. Elder McCreary has asked me not to tell about his sickness, but
suffice it to say, it was bad enough for the MISSIONARIES to stay home from church. I can tell you some stuff about him though. He is a really cool guy. He's from Seattle, and Norway. His mom is 100% Norweigien, so he is a Half. This being the case, my second Gaijin (foreigner) companion that
doesn't speak English as their first language, in a ROW. Elder Thurston was Spanish, and Elder McCreary is Norwegian. Except, they both lived in America, so currently their English is better than mine :P (恥ずかしいね)He is currently on his 4th/6th transfer. He came in with Elder Pace, but had to go home for surgery. (something to do with his heart) and then came back out, so he is on his 4th transfer, but his Douki (group that he came with) is on 6. He is an all star. He has a really solid Testimony of the Gospel. And, he shares it with everyone. Way Way cool guy. He is way into sports, and physical fitness, aka he was kind of a body builder before the mission, so he is helping me to lose some fat and gain some muscle this transfer. #GetSwole

A little I can tell you about the area, it is in the south west of Sapporo. The reason it is called Moiwa, is because it is right at the foot of Mt. Moiwa. It is one of the oldest units in Hokkaido, and is the Oldest Church building. It was the first official Church in Hokkaido. It is actually very familiar, because the apt. I was in in Shinkotoni is in our area. Therefore our area is very similar. It is like the center of the city, including Odori Park. Then it goes all the way down to a fairly rural area called Kawazoe. (it goes a little further than that, but that is as far as we usually go) We went there this last Friday. It takes about 30-40 minutes to bike there, and then 10-15 on the way back. (it is slightly uphill on the way down and so we fly home, going about the same speed as the cars)

Other than that I've got a cool thought for you. I have a new scripture hero. Who has ever heard of Jonathan ? Anybody? I hadn't. While Elder McCreary was in bed (dead) I took the time to read some
more of the Old Testament. Remember how I started back when Elder Numano was sick? Well I picked up where I left off, and now I am at 1 kings. Anyway, back to Jonathan. So Jonathan is the son of Saul. So Saul and the Israelite's are fighting against the Philistines, and Saul and the people are stumped as to what to do. God isn't telling Saul what to do, and they are afraid. Meanwhile in 1 Samuel 14 Jonathan takes his armor bearer, and goes behind them, and by themselves, defeats the Philistines. But, he isn't prideful, and goes up in his own strength to do so, he is Faithful in going up, and then Prays to God to know how it will work, devises a plan, and then when God tells him to go for it, He continues in faith, Despite the fact that it is 2 (1 that is an armor bearer, not a soldier) VS Several, and wins. Then, later on when Saul is taken by an Evil Spirit, and starts trying to kill David, Helps David. He gets to be really good friends with them, and helps him get away from Saul, his father. Sadly, because of Saul's wickedness, Jonathan is killed in a war later in the scriptures along with Saul, and his brothers. However, the faith, and charity, and hope that he shows, in the small amount that he is mentioned, he is waaaaay sick. Paul the Apostle when talking about Charity in 1 Corinthians 13, he names at the end that the 3 to have are Faith, Hope, and Charity (the greatest of which is Charity.) My new Scripture Hero.

Yup. I should have some more to write about next week. We have several General Authorities including, Elder Quinton L. Cook, and Elder Gary E. Stephenson coming to talk to us this week. I'm stoked. Remember to try to tell one of your friends about the gospel this week, and remember that God doesn't care if you are successful, He cares if you try. (and then because he loves all of his children, you will be successful) Be like Jonathan. Have Faith, be Prayerful, have Hope, and then Have Charity, and you will be successful.

Have a Wonderful Week.
Elder Eliot

Sunday, May 15, 2016

05/15/2016 | Riding on top of a Seaweed Boulder!!!!!!!!!!

Mt. Moiwa Tram, Sapporo Moiwa area in background

Well... There has been a transfer. Not everyone transferred, but some people did. Who transferred, and where? That's going to be a secret. Now you all have to guess. Mwahahahaha.

Nah I'm just kidding. So, I've kind of just followed a pattern throughout my mission now. I was in Otaru for 1 transfer. Not even that. 5 weeks. Short transfer. Then I moved up to Abashiri for 4 transfers. 6 hole months. Dropped back into Shinkotoni for 2 transfers. Only 3 months. Then fell to the Muroran turf for 4 more transfers. 6 months at this point again, then I flew up to Kitami where I was at for 2 transfers. That's right now I have transferred again, back down into Sapporo. I am now in the Moiwa area. One of the oldest units in all of Hokkaido. I am now with a missionary who's name is Elder McCreary!!! He is from Norway!!! sort of... just like Elder Thurston he actually lived quite a bit of his life most recently in Seattle WA. He came at the same time as Elder Pace, but had to go home because of some health things. He came back up last transfer, and is now effectively on his 4th transfer. He is way way cool. He has some interesting back stories, and he has a solid testimony. He knows why he is out here, and he is trying hard. Way way good guy. I had the opportunity of doing a role-play with him back when he was a bean.

Map of Moiwa

Despite not being able to speak Japanese to well, he brought the Spirit in like crazy. We've already gotten to teach lot's of investigators, and they all have a lot of crazy good potential. I'm really excited to work in this area. It wasn't exactly where I wanted to go, but I've heard lot's of good things about it, and have seen lot's of good things about it as well. It's also where I am meant to be.

Well I don't have all that much more to report for you this week. It's been an interesting week. I'll let you know more next week when I've got more time.

Love you all SO much.
Elder Eliot

PS Moiwa means Seaweed Boulder in Japanese, go figure!