Charlie is in a new area called Nishinomiya, just outside of the city of Kobe, where the missionaries have their work cut out for them. After being in Hanayashiki where the ward was strong and the work was moving along well, he now has to start building up his teaching pool again. Here’s what he had to say about finding new investigators:
Most missionaries hate days full of “finding” because it’s tiring and it’s a lot of work to get out there and talk to people. But I think if they had a different attitude about it everyone would see a lot more success finding new investigators. You can’t just go out there for 8 hours doing “finding” and not expect to find anybody that day. Finding people is one of the most exciting parts of missionary work! You get out there and you LOOK for the people who’ve been prepared to receive the gospel by God, and you teach them right then and there. “Finding” is an opportunity every day to find another person to bring into the fold. So that day we decided to test our faith and go on an adventure to a part of the area where we had never been before. It was about an hour’s bike ride but we got there and it turned out that there was a huge eki [station] there and tons of buildings. We had found the city Sanda, a great place for street contacting and finding. That day we taught a group of six teenagers a lesson on the street about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited all of them to church, and they all said yes! We also taught another man in a park who accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon, gave us his phone number, and said he wanted to read and study more. We also found another man who wanted us to come to his house and teach him English and the gospel. Finding is easy if you know and accept that God is putting people in your path all the time. You just have to talk to them.
We also started teaching a golden investigator named Shota that we found last week. Shota is a 45-year-old man who is single and speaks English, French, and Russian fluently (and of course Japanese.) We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon when we met him and when Novak Choro taught him on Tuesday, he had already read 300 pages of it. (KINJIN!) [Golden!] He was taught again Friday and by then he had read all of it and was on round two. Now he’s reading it in English. He accepted a baptismal date for October the 19th. He came to church yesterday and brought a friend who also became an investigator. Miracles are happening. This mission is the best. And something I’ve learned is that when you put your faith in Christ, not in outcomes, the outcomes themselves seem to be better, even through the hard times.
On Wednesday Elder Ringwood of the Seventy came and gave a special conference in Kobe which was really cool. He talked a lot about devotion and commitment, which is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. He asked everyone, “Are you so committed that you would rather conquer, or die? Would you rather die than break a rule or a commandment? Would you rather die than not serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength?” It was very powerful. And then five missionaries out of the four zones who were there were picked to do a personal interview with him and I got to have one! That was the highlight of the week. I got to have an interview with the Asia North area president, a General Authority! That was cool. I got to talk with him about helping out the missionaries in the zone and about what it means to be valiant, which apparently means doing my best every day. Maybe if President Uchtdorf comes to the mission I’ll get to have one with him, too.
I’ve been feeling really, really tired lately. They all say that missionaries get tired by the end of their mission and you can tell it’s time for them to head home and sleep for several days. But not when they haven’t even been out for ten months yet! I was falling asleep during lunchtime and fighting sleep during lessons. It was way bad. So I prayed one night to Heavenly Father for help to keep me awake and to help me have energy to dendo [proselyte] with fire. It’s no good to dendo without any fire! I promised that as long as he would support me with his strength, I would use it to fulfill his purposes and focus on giving up my mind and heart to his will. And the next day was awesome! Heavenly Father really does answer prayers. I gain a stronger testimony of that every day. He especially answers prayers for things that are pure, righteous desires.Now for some pictures of Charlie’s favorite things: Japanese food!