Summer is in full swing in the beautiful land of Hachioji! But president wada has counseled us to ‘beat the heat’ get out there and give em heaven!
This week I went on a split in kofu with sister Bangerter, and it was the best, it’s nice to get a little feel of the country life once in awhile. So the train ride is two hours long, but the lord blessed our path and we were able to teach a sweet young woman about prayer for half of the ride. It’s so great to see people’s faces when they hear that they have a loving Heavenly Father and how we can communicate to him through prayer, and a lightbulb goes off and they experience what elder packer describes as, “ A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar ‘ring’ to them,”not every person we teach acts on these experiences, but I’m grateful when the lord blesses us with these opportunitieWe met with a couple of their investigators a very nice woman from China, who speaks Japanese but church words are way too foreign so a large portion of our lesson was translated into Chinese by a sweet member named Meiya shimai from Taiwan. We had a mixture of three languages swirling around in that lesson, from English to Japanese and from Japanese to Chinese, we relied extra heavily on the spirit, so the message was not lost in translation. But we taught her about baptism and she is so excited and wants to receive the blessings so badly, it was also way cool to hear her pray in Chinese, she is working to get her work hours changed in order to go to church and then she will be on track for baptism. After our half Japanese half Chinese lesson, we then had a lesson win a half Colombian half Japanese girl. She is Christian and has a strong faith in Christ, so the whole lesson was about how we can better follow his example, she is incredibly sensitive to the spirit it was great! And then she prayed in Spanish, and again the spirit was so strong and I felt the same as when our Chinese friend prayed in Chinese. The lord is truly bringing about his work, to every nation in their own tongue through the power of the spirit and by the language of love that knows no cultural or language barriers.
This week we also got to go with the primary to sing songs at an old folks home, and it was the cutest thing ever to see the elderly eyes open with excitement to see all the children and then to see the children share love through songs and activities. I loved visiting with the elderly and Kanon and yuna chan the two little girls we are teaching and preparing for baptism came and there was a great turn out from the primary kids.
We met with a new investigator, ueda San. Her daughters come to our kids eikaiwa class, and she has such a Christian way of thinking. Her most important thing is her family so we taught her a little about the family of God and how she is important to her Heavenly Father. We talked about her identity as a child of God, as a mother she was able to clearly see his role in her life. As we taught her about Jesus Christ and his role in her life, a member that was with us, Hayase shimai, bore powerful testimony of the savior and we could all feel the spirit very strong.
We also had interviews with president wada. I love pres and sister wada, they always have such good advice on how we can help the people in our areas and how we can improve ourselves. He talked about how we simply need to invite and I asked but it’s hard when you know how good this is for people and how much it would bless them but sometimes it doesn’t feel like we are making any headway. He said we simply give them a clear choice and leave the rest to God and for them to govern themselves. On Sunday our ward mission leader shared a story that was exactly what we needed and I thought I would share it with you.
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s mind such as: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure, these thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. “Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort, and that will be good enough.” And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?” To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. “I, my friend, will now move the rock.” At times when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what he wants when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but it is still God who moves the mountains. God, You call us to obedience every day. Sometimes, I want to see beyond obedience. I want to know why, how and when. Yet, it is usually long after the obedience that I begin to realize what Your plan was back then. So help me just be obedient for today. I am learning, Lord that by being obedient today, I am stronger for tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN! by Cindy Lu = 山にひとり住み、眠っていた男に、主が現れてこう言いました。 「私はあなたにひとつの仕事を与えよう。あなたの小屋の前にあって、いつもあなたの行く道を妨げている、あの大きな岩に立ち向かって、あなたの力の限り、その岩を押しなさい」 その男は、言われたとおり毎日、岩を動かそうと力の限り押し続けました。熱心に朝から夕方まで、力の限りふんばって、何年も押し続けました。しかしこの岩はびくともしません。すべての努力をあざ笑うかのように、その岩は動かないのです。 「主が与えてくださった仕事としても、無駄な事に力を使い果たしているのではないだろうか」。そんな失望と落胆が心に生じます。サタンがやって来ては「もうおまえはやめたほうがいい。まったく無駄なことをしている。岩は動きはしない。この仕事にお前は、向いていない。主の言葉に聞き従ったのが間違いだった」。こうささやくのです。 男はうちのめされ落胆した中、祈って言いました。 「主よ。私はあなたの言われたとおり、あの困難な大きな岩に立ち向かって動かそうとして、毎日働きました。しかし岩は１ミリも動きません。私は無駄のために働いているのではないでしょうか。何が悪いのでしょう。なぜ私はこの仕事で敗北したのでしょう」。 すると主の答えがありました。「私の子よ。私はあなたに私の言葉に聞き従って仕えるよう言った。あなたは受け入れ、力の限り岩に立ち向かって、毎日押しつづけてくれた。しかし一言も、岩を動かしなさいと言っていない。あなたの仕事は、岩を強く押しつづけることだった。あなたはいま落胆し、すべて無駄だったと考えている。しかし本当に無駄だったのだろうか。今、あなたの手と腕と足と体を御覧なさい。今は筋力が発達し、たくましくなった。またあなたの忍耐力が養われた。確かにあなたはあの困難の岩を動かすことはできなかった。しかしあなたは私に従って、あの従順と私の知恵に信頼し、あなたの信仰を働かせ、困難に立ち向かって、岩を押し続けることがあなたの使命だった。あなたはそれをよくやった。今私はあなたのためにこの不動の岩をも動かそう
Often times in life and especially on my mission I feel as though I need to move the rock God has placed before me and I try and it doesn’t always feel like I’m as effective as I could be but when I stop and look back and see that What God expects of me, which is to push, to share his love and gospel with my brothers and sisters and let him move his ‘rock’ and push his work forward, I’m amazed at what he is able to do and the miracles we are blessed to see. I love this gospel and the work of the lord. Keep on pushing against the rock and watch as the lord, not us moves it.