Mom and Dad,
Yesterday Hoshino Choro and I had a bit of a unique opportunity. Because I'm in the Branch Presidency and he's Elder's quorum president, we went to the District Correlation Meeting in Fukuchiyama. It was way cool to be there. It was so enlightening and interesting to experience and be involved in the thoughts and planning that goes on at a District Level. It was awesome to be able to hear about all of the different Branches' dendo plans and themes. I always enjoy a chance to interact with the District President - he is an incredible Priesthood Leader and he teaches simply and uses examples effectively. Hoshino Choro and I were given a bit of time to report about and discuss the progressing investigators and yakusokusha (committed for baptism) in the Zone. We were also given some time to talk about the 400 non-members to church goal. For that we basically just taught a lesson that we normally teach to investigators to help them understand the importance of coming to church. In short, we simply draw the connection of coming to church, taking the sacrament, accessing Christ's Atonement, and obtaining a happiness which leads to everlasting happiness. We did it in the context of "Did you realize just how amazing it is to invite your friend to church? That by inviting them to church you're inviting them to take the first steps to accessing Christ's Atonement, and thus to obtain true happiness?" I feel like it went well.
I feel so blessed to be in the position I am as a Missionary, Zone Leader and Branch Presidency Member. With the latter two I have a chance to plan, organize, administer, and minister by the Spirit. And with the former, I have a chance to be out in the fight. It's incredibly fun, and I'm reminded of the phrase, "Duty is joy." As I fulfill my duties I feel the greatest joy. I also feel many of the Lord's promised blessings of Spiritual and Physical support and strength as I give all I can for this the greatest work.
Yesterday was a great day for more than just the incredible experience we had at District Correlation meeting. In Toyooka there is an investigator named E. Kyoudai (Brother). He was a yakusokusha (committed for baptism), but due to his job he became legitimately incredibly busy and we haven't been able to meet with him at all last transfer. We were able to contact him a few times, but after a while even the contact ceased. He stopped picking up his phone and wouldn't reply to e-mails. We tried visiting him any number of times, but he was never home. Last week we had the thought, "Have we been doing ALL we can do to get in touch with and help him?" We realized we hadn't. We still hadn't tried visiting him in the morning. Last Sunday morning (the 12th) we got up early and visited his home before DCS. He wasn't home, but for the first time we were able to talk to his mom and found out that he's normally home on Sunday morning. So, we decided to go again yesterday. We got up a bit earlier this time, it normally takes about 20 minutes to get to his place by bike anyway, but yesterday there was more snow on the roads than last week as well as more ice. We visited him and he was home! We had a good chat about how he's been lately, how his job has been and how things will be from here on out, we talked about what times during the day would be best for him to make contact, then I hugged him and we left. He had to work yesterday and has had to work every Sunday for the past couple of months. But Sunday will be a yasumi for him and it should stay that way from here on out, so he's going to come to church. Beyond feeling an incredible amount of relief that E. Kyoudai honestly has been busy and that the biggest problem isn't necessarily that his desire has dropped or that he just wanted to stop the whole church thing, I suppose what I've come to feel and learn from all of this is that I can't be afraid to try something else, something new. Just show faith, act, and then let the Lord take care of everything I can't.
I don't feel like I'm the same person I was a year ago. A month ago. Even since just last week. In the New Testament it says if you lose yourself for Him, you'll find yourself. Matthew 10:39 I believe. I feel so strongly that is happening to me. It comes out a lot when I share my experiences and bear my testimony. As I have worked to throw away my extra stuff, and keep giving more to Him, in a rather un-explainable sort of way I've come to understand how I feel and what is actually in my heart. As I write out my experiences and the feelings I have for Gospel Principles I've come to see what's in my heart, what I actually believe and why I believe it, and I've really rather come to grips with myself - something I don't feel like I've ever been able to do before.
If I could make any requests for the next package it would be big candy bars like the big Cookies and Cream and the Symphony bar you sent with the last one. I ended up taking those to Eikaiwa (English class) and sharing them with all of the students. They thought it was pretty cool that we have such gigantic candy bars in America.
Elder Kyle Hutchings
PS. Thanks so much for the pictures! And Happy Birthday Dad!