Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013 - Week 14

Mom and Dad,

Definitely felt that earthquake!  It was about 5:30 Saturday Morning and our cell phone started buzzing.  It was an earthquake warning - and we got it just as things started shaking.  I woke up, and it almost felt like someone was shoving me side to side - it was weird.  Mostly, I was just kind of annoyed and went back to sleep.  In hindsight, I probably should have been more concerned or thought to do something more than just roll over in my futon.  Haha!  Later that morning we got an e-mail saying we needed to check our church building for damage.  We left during study time on a Special Ops Dendo Mission.  I'm happy to report that the church building was just fine.

We watched General Conference in the Sunday School room.  I don't know if I mentioned before, but our church building used to be a kon bini (convenience store).  It's pretty small, but it's a nice building.  They had all of the sessions on DVD at the church, and the DVD's had about 6-7 languages, including English.  Elder Day and I just sat together in the room watching General Conference - the members were in the chapel.  We watched Priesthood session first, then Morning, then Afternoon (we were switching DVDs back and forth with the members).  It was a really great conference!  It's kind of cool listening to the General Authorities talk about missionaries and missionary work.  It's interesting when they talk about currently serving full-time missionaries, because I'm one of them.  I think so much differently about their admonitions to members to always share the Gospel wherever you may be.  This church and The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is the means for our fellow children of our Heavenly Father - our literal Spirit brothers and sisters - to attain eternal life and happiness.  How could we not want to share that?

It was really exciting hearing all of the emphasis on young Aaronic Priesthood holders during Priesthood session.  Elder Callister's talk was awesome!  It's so vital that all of the youth are as prepared and strong as they can be for when they grow to missionary age.  It's so exciting to see the work of saving souls grow and grow!

Sunday was really good too.  2 of our investigators (and 2 other non-members) were able to come and watch Conference.  One of them - I mentioned in a previous e-mail - is from Congo and though his mother tongue is French, watched it in English with Elder Day and I.  He really perked up during Sunday Morning (I think) when President Uchtdorf talked about visiting Africa.  After the session, our investigator said it really is an impoverished place - but that many people there are happy because they are Christian.  As he talked about it, he remembered a friend of his living in Tokyo who works with her husband at the Congo Embassy.  He hadn't been in contact with her for a while, but he remembered she's LDS.  He called her right then and had a good conversation in French, then handed the phone to Elder Day and they talked (she knows English too).  She told our investigator to go to church and take his family.  It was awesome!  He said he really respects her and her family - she's a wonderful mother and everybody loves their family.  He said they work for Congo's government, but they don't really get paid anything (not sure why) but they're the happiest people and they're always helping and serving others.  It was really good that that came up - because he's been thinking a lot about whether or not he wants to be baptized because he was baptized Catholic as a child.  He said that our Church is true and that the teachings of the Prophets and Apostles were true.  But, he's still not sure about baptism.  It's a little heartbreaking because we really want he and his family to receive the blessings of The Restored Gospel, but we're really hopeful that he'll accept baptism by proper authority soon.

As for our investigator with the JW friend - we're not sure what's been going on.  She got out of the hospital last Monday, and we had an appointment set up with her at her apartment for last Friday.  We went and our doseki came, but she wasn't there.  We checked back at the hospital again just in case, but she wasn't there.  We went back to visit her again last night, and this time when we got to her door there was light on in the peep hole and the electric meter was turning.  We knocked and rang the doorbell and waited for a good 3 minutes.  Then the peep hole light started got dark and light again like someone had looked through it - we said hi but nobody opened the door.  It looked as though somebody looked through the peephole a few more times while we were standing there, then they must have left the door because the light was constant again.  We slipped a note into the mail box on the door and walked away.  We haven't drawn any conclusions yet, but we aren't up to discount the possibility that she doesn't want to meet with us again.  We hope her JW friend hasn't done something to change her mind.  She's a sweet older woman and we really want her to receive the Gospel.

Our 17 year old Yakusokusha is doing really well!  We taught him all of Lesson 1 on Saturday and he really seems to believe it and wants to develop a relationship with God.  We asked him if his parents know he's been coming to church and meeting with us and he said they still don't.  We really need him to though, because he'll need their permission to be baptized.  He said his parents kind of have a weird image of religion in general, so we're hoping they don't have a bad reaction when he talks to them about meeting us and coming to church.  He's so solid and I'm really excited that he's on his way to be baptized on Mother's Day - but we're still working hard to have more Yakusokushas for our goal, because there's always a possibility his parents will go hantai (opposite/opposing).

This last Tuesday we had interviews with Zinke Kaicho.  It was amazing getting to talk to Kaicho one-on-on.  Dad, you asked me how I'm progressing and that's what I talked about with Kaicho.  These last few weeks I've been trying really hard to understand how I receive revelation.  I haven't felt lately that I've been receiving or recognizing revelation and it's been a little frustrating for me.  The night before interviews I had a realization - one of the reasons I haven't been receiving as much revelation is because I'm not willing to act on it.  I realized that I need to humble myself more and have real-intent before The Lord will trust me with more specific direction about how to do His work and the power to carry out His direction.  During the training meeting before interviews, Kaicho taught on that precise thing.  He talked again about Ether 12.  All we need to do to gain the Lord's help is humble ourselves and have faith.  It's really just that simple.  After the meeting when I talked to Kaicho I told him about the previous night's realization.  He helped me realize that that realization was revelation - it certainly didn't come from Satan, and I couldn't have figured that out on my own.  He joked that I'm like an AA member who's realized and come to admit the problem - but was thrilled that I've come to the realization of what's holding me back so early in my mission.  He said coming to the realization and coming to admit it has gotten me about 75% there - now I need to execute.  Just be humble and willing to accept whatever The Lord directs me to do, work my hardest to do it, and have faith that He will make up for what I can't do.  Kaicho said it's a mindset shift - and it's one I've been trying hard to make.  To just give it all - whole heart, might, mind, and strength - to The Lord.  I'm certain it's not going to be easy and will take time - but I trust that as I step into the dark the Lord will illuminate my path.

I'm happy, I'm healthy, and I'm a missionary.  Life is awesome!

Elder Kyle Hutchings