It would be unusual if a missionary didn’t suffer from occasional trials and challenges. It is a mission, after all, not a vacation or a study abroad. Charlie is facing his fair share (and then some). His first few months in Japan, despite the language barrier, were new and exciting–the Golden Days, as Charlie calls them. The Belle Epoque. Well, the Golden Days have come to a screeching halt. A bygone era. A new era has begun. In the Church we say that trials help us grow; Charlie is feeling a lot of growing pains lately.
This has literally been the craziest week of my life. Full of trials every day, but also full of miracles. I realized just how much I really can’t control what goes on in this work or know what God wants me to do sometimes. But it all worked out. This was probably the hardest, craziest week I’ve ever had on my mission.
Naturally you are now wondering what was so hard and crazy. Among other things, there was a car accident, a lost job, a lazy missionary, a bad day, moving into a new apartment, cleaning out the old one, a stubborn missionary, another bad day, and a group of Nepalese tourists at the train station. (Actually they probably didn’t have anything to do with it being a hard week, but it’s something you don’t see every day so it’s worth mentioning.) And the car accident and lost job happened to his investigator, not to Charlie. But it’s sympathetic stress. And that doesn’t even begin to cover it. But we’ll move on. Good things are happening, too.
I got to see our new mission president for the first time, Welch Kaicho [President]. He is awesome. We had a zone conference in north Osaka on Friday and it was amazing. Everyone was really sad that Zinke Kaicho is now gone, but during that meeting I could tell that Welch Kaicho is definitely the one the Lord wants to lead the mission right now. He’s going to be way good. We also found out that sometime between October and December we will be getting mini ipads in the mission. How crazy is that! It sounds like it’s going to be a really good tool for us missionaries to use in contacting. We will be able to show people church videos and contact them via Facebook. It’s a lot less threatening to people than trying to get phone numbers from them to share a message about a church they’ve never heard about. My companion’s way excited for it. I think it will be cool, I just hope that missionaries don’t get distracted with it.
Last Monday I made a goal with Wilkin Choro to contact 1,000 people this month. By contact I mean spend at least a minute talking about the gospel. It’s going to be hard work to find all these people but it will be well worth it. I feel like if we hit the goal, the work in this area will finally kick into gear. This week we think we can get five people to church which would be really great. We usually have two at the most, if not one, or sometimes none. If the Lord truly is hastening his work, which I believe he is, then we’re living under our privilege and potential if we’re not finding people to teach as missionaries. It’s not a complaint, or lack of faith–simply acknowledging what the prophets have said. If God’s hastening the work, I don’t want to get left behind. I better hasten my stride as well!
And then there was that time when Charlie had to cast out an evil spirit from someone’s apartment…true story.
I never thought that I would have to do this kind of stuff, but I just work here, and I do anything the Lord wants me to do. It was crazy though. Never going to forget this experience And it didn’t even happen directly to me. Just being involved in getting rid of evil spirits was intense. Anyway, that about sums it up. This transfer has been hectic with everything. The move, the training, the investigators, the Japanese, and to top it off poltergeists. But it’s all part of the mission experience, I guess.
So even amid all the trials and challenges, there are also opportunities to serve, to give blessings, to strengthen those who have fallen or need support, to witness small miracles, and to be blessed. Like he says, “I just work here…it’s all part of the mission experience.” He’s going to be seven feet tall when he comes home from all this growth. We won’t even recognize him!
Just checking to see if you were paying attention.