Mom and Dad,
Sounds like you had a crazy day on Valentines Day, Mom. おつかれさまです！(poor, tired soul) STYX & Foreigner concert?! I love you Mom and Dad, but I'm glaring at you right now. うらやましいぜー！(jealous)
I'm so psyched to hear that Nicole and Nathan got their mission calls! That's so sweet!
This last Saturday, the wind was strong in Toyooka. It was really, really wicked strong. As we were biking back home from doing some dendo at a place about 20 minutes away from our house, it was all biking into the wind. It was hard. We pushed through it and made it home, but it took us about 35 minutes to do what normally would take 18 or so. As I was biking and pushing, and trying to not fall over, I felt that I was physically experiencing something that I have been spiritually lately as well. A bit of a trial.
With how smoothly things were going with our yakusokusha, I'm not entirely surprised by what we've been met with this last week. Faith is tested, and Satan likes to interfere. H. kyoudai, our current yakusokusha, has some concerns about changing his religion. It's a religion he's in only because his dad was - and it's not even like their family has been in it for centuries or anything. When H. Kyoudai was in the 3rd grade his dad joined this religion. H. Kyoudai doesn't understand, practice, or believe one bit in this religion, but being the very pure and innocent person he is, has some anxieties about stopping that religion and entering a Christian church. I never thought that I would ever come to think that being too pure and innocent could be a bad thing, but it has proved to be. We definitely have plans for how we'll show our faith and strengthen his faith and how we're going to help him, but it just goes to show how the closer you get to doing something important for someone's salvation, the more Satan works so that God's children won't make it home.
It was an all right week. I can't say that I felt it was great, but it wasn't horrible. We're still trying so hard to have faith in all we do and give all things. But even so, the numbers haven't changed much. Sunday morning we left DCS early to go pick up an investigator to come to church by bike. When we got to his apartment he said he was feeling unwell and couldn't come. We've had investigators not show up to appointments more than once this last week. It's been trying when despite all we're doing nothing happens. But as we've faithfully pressed on the Lord's tender mercies are manifest.
The tender mercy of an investigator who the night before on the phone said he wasn't going to come to church who came to sacrament meeting anyway. Our other investigator and a less-active member who said they would come to church, but didn't come during sacrament meeting, who both came during 3rd hour. Finding 3 solid PIs when we went out housing. All of them are male and under 25 years old and they don't work on Sundays. It's true for all of Japan, but especially the need for Priesthood holders in Toyooka has been on my mind a lot lately, so finding those kinds of potential investigators really comes as a tender mercy in my eyes. Even though things haven't all gone according to plan this last week, it's all been laced with the Lord's tender mercies. I'm so grateful for it.
I turned 20 years old yesterday. That's weird. Hoshino Choro pointed out to me on Saturday night, "This is your last night to be a teenager. FOREVER." I'm glad our investigator came to church on my birthday. Still haven't gotten the package but it should come any day now. I got a note from the post office saying it would be coming
Grandpa sent me an e-mail to wish me happy birthday, and as I replied to his e-mail, the Spirit brought to my realization some wonderful things. I love how the Spirit whacks your heart with awesome things when you least expect it. I realized just how grateful I am for all of the incredible opportunities he provided me with and that his love and example have had a much deeper impression on me than I previously thought. I've realized that through his example and love, it's been easy for me to feel the love that our Father in Heaven and Savior has for me.
The same goes for you too, Mom and Dad. I've learned so much from both of you, and I see now that through your examples and love it's been much easier for me to walk the right path and desire to grow closer to God.
I love dendo. I love my life. I'm so grateful that the Lord has given me the opportunity to live and to share His gospel.
Elder Kyle Hutchings