Well it's been a fairly good week. We've gotten to meet quite a few people, and our teaching pool has gone up. I'm really glad I get to be here to help this area, and hope that when I leave, it will be in a very good situation. One fun thing we found this week was the Sapporo International Plaza. We went in search of volunteer service opportunities, and found out they have this program called "Let's Talk" in which over the course of a week, people gather together to practice speaking certain languages. The two that we joined, were the English, and the Japanese ones. It's super easy. You just go and talk to them, as they ask you questions. In either language it's really easy. Specifically the Japanese one is a lot of fun, because excluding the Japanese Volunteers, My Japanese is better then all of the other foreigners, and then I tell them I've only been studying it for 2 years, and they all flip. They can't believe it. Most of them have been living here for upwards of 5 years, and they still struggle. I guess the while Gift of Tongues thing actually works. They are all really good, though, and it's been fun to meet and talk with them.
At this last meeting, I got to meet 2 Chinese people, 2 German guys, A couple from Mongol, and a lady who was from somewhere in Africa. They were all really cool, and despite not being fluent in the language, really enjoyed the conversation we were having, and really jumped in on it, and had fun. We even got 2 people that were interested in hearing about the gospel without asking them directly. I think that's way cool. We, also have our information there now, so we have gotten a couple phone calls about our English Classes. It's so cool to find little places like that. So much more fun, and effective then going house to house for 4 hours, when no one is home.
Anyway that's just a cool thing that happened this week. The other nice thing is that we moved. We used to live down next to the old Mission Home, but since the Mission home moved over to the temple, and we didn't even live in our area, which was an hour Bike ride away everyday, we got a new apartment. It's way way cool. Brand new, so there's nothing that past missionaries could have done to make it bad. Now we just gotta make sure we aren't those missionaries. But we have gotten a considerable distance closer to the church. Or in other words, the Church is our next door neighbor. Yeah. It's awesome. Yesterday during church, I had allergies acting up, so between Sunday School, and sacrament meeting, we ran back to the apartment real quick, and I got some meds, came back over, and it was like we never left. Why do I get all of this luxury on the last 3 weeks of my mission... hmm... So yeah.
Lastly I want to share some thoughts from some recent studying, and pondering I've done. So the thing that triggered this, was the YSA, and the youth of the ward. They were rather busy in this month of August. So at the beginning of the month, they had FSY (Especially for Youth, with different initials) which they have been preparing for for a while. Then they also had the Cultural Celebration, to practice and perform. And finally the Temple dedication. They had a lot of way cool experiences and, and I got to hear some of them talk about them. Specifically my friend Sanae Maruyama, who is the same age as me, got up and talked about an incredible experience she had at FSY, and was even moved to tears. I'd never seen her do something like that. I'd never seen evidence of her having felt the spirit so strongly before. Well in thinking about it, I wanted her to be able to remember that.
Then as the dedication came along, and I saw all of the members, and we felt and partook of the amazing experience, and powerful spirit that was there, I thought again. What if we could just stay here forever. That would be nice. Well in pondering, I reflected back to Elder Holland's talk at the last General Conference. If you remember right, he showed us this picture. Make sure you stop giggling before you go on, but then if you haven't seen what followed, here's this for some more giggles. OK so he showed us this and talked about how none of us want tomorrow to come. We want to stay in this spiritual experiences at all times. We want to be up on these spiritual "Mountains" forever. Just like Moses, or even Jesus Christ. Both of whom went up to a mountain, and had amazing experiences. I'll bet neither of them want to come down, but the fact of the matter is, life moves on. That's all part of God's plan. We have mountains periodically throughout life, but mountains don't just go up, and up, and up. They have to peak. And that creates a down. Well we can't control that. We have to come back down, to the world. So what can we do so that when a valley comes along in life, we can stay strong? Well we can remember the times up on the mountains. Think about that word. It's used in the scriptures a lot.
We covenant at baptism to "Always Remember [Jesus]" Think about how much less likely to commit sin we would be if we could remember the spirit that we felt at a temple dedication, or on our missions, or at General Conference. In fact I feel that the only reason we do sin, is because we forget those things. Think about the Israelite's. The Red Sea was parted. They walk through on dry land. The Egyptians were drowned in an attempt to chase them. God literally Miraculously saved them. And what were they saying 2 days later? Just 2 days. "We're hungry" "Why did you bring us here to die" "It would've been better if we had stayed in Egypt" They forgot their God. Or at another time, in the wilderness, when bitten by fiery serpents. Moses raises a snake up on a stick and says "Look." Well I don't know about you, but if it were me, it would've taken more effort to not look. But they didn't remember their God. They didn't remember their prophet Moses. They were prideful, and forgot all of the miracles they had seen. Surely the guy that split a sea, called manna down from heaven, and acquired water by hitting a rock with a stick is pretty powerful. But they forgot those experiences. It's no wonder God was so strict, and stern with them. It's no wonder why the Law of Moses was involving sacrifices daily.
Why do people in the Church go inactive? There's several reasons, but a large majority of them would be because they forgot the spirit that they had felt before. An interesting note on this from a Japanese view point. In Japanese the word for remember, is 覚える(oboeru). But in the scriptures, when it says remember, it says 覚えて置きなさい(oboeteokinasai). Not only is this a command, but it adds 置く(oku) in to it, which means to place. So the imaginary in my head, is to plant it down in your head, and don't forget it. A little stronger then just remember. But it's true. God commands us to remember. And we know that whenever God commands us to do something, it's not to make an annoying rule, but it's to help us, and to guide us. Next time you're in the scriptures, and you see the word "Remember," remember that it is almost always a command. My plea is for you to remember these Mountainous experiences. Don't forget and fall away. Remember, and be saved.
Anyway just some interesting thoughts. I hope you are all doing well. I've now realized, I only get 2 more emails. Can you believe that? Well since it's coming up I guess, if you would like to come, I will be reporting in sacrament meeting on Sept. 18 at 1pm... But I'd love to see you there. Mark it on your calendar.
Thanks, and we'll see you next week. 愛しているよ
PS If you haven't had a chance to read the article about the Sapporo Temple, go to https://www.lds.org/church/news/sapporo-japan-temple-is-a-fulfillment-of-repeated-prophecy?lang=eng&_r=1&cid=HP_MO_22-8-2016_dCN_fEVT_xLIDyL2-4_ The cute little girl that's crying in the picture with her dad is Miku Chan. She is in Shinkotoni, where I'm serving currently. Also, Sister Hosoya, and Sister Sato, are also in Shinkotoni, and are 2 good friends of mine. Just fun small world stuff for ya.