Hard work is a cure for almost anything that ails you. Charlie and Yamaguchi Choro have been working day and night trying to find people to teach, and it seems to be paying off. This past week they found five new investigators who have set baptism dates–a huge change from a few weeks ago when they had no one to teach. But he has learned along the way that, as frustrating as it is not to be teaching anyone at all, the numbers are not what’s important, people are. And another lesson he’s learned (and a mantra for life): enjoy every moment.
It has been a crazy week filled with lots of random things that I would never expect. But it has been a good week. We have really been trying to get some people on their way to baptism. Converting to the church is a long, hard road, and one that takes a lot of desire and faith. I have so much respect for converts, especially in Japan or other places where it is really hard to make it all the way to something like baptism. Coming into the church is something that takes a lot of work on the part of the investigator, the missionaries, and the ward. But that is the amazing thing – we are able to do it, with the help of our Heavenly Father. This week we had Elder Aoyagi of the Seventy come to the mission. It was a really great event. A point he made is that God can do his entire work, on his own, in an instant, if he wanted to. He is the only one who holds the power to do so. He chooses to use us, when we are humble and asked to be used. And even then, it takes effort on our part to be clean, worthy, and ready with skills so that we can become effective instruments in the hands of the Lord.
I definitely know that the Lord’s work is about a lot more than numbers. I definitely understand that it’s his work and not mine. And I know that he delivers us out of bondage eventually, no matter what it is. I knew I worked really hard last week, and I definitely learned in my heart, not just my head, that I just need to enjoy every moment and not worry about it all so much. It sounds so cliché, because people say that kind of stuff all the time. But human beings never really learn something until they feel it. Converts to the church don’t convert unless they feel the gospel. Children don’t learn rules until they feel the effects those rules have. I believe that Heavenly Father really teaches us this way. When we teach people, in Sunday school, in investigator lessons, in homes, in any setting, we need to focus more upon what people feel, more than what they hear. The spirit works through feelings, and only sometimes words. And even when it works through words, it’s only to emphasize the feelings. So, so should we. ね？[Right?]
During a companionship study this week Elder Yamaguchi and I were reading in the Book of Mormon about the missionaries of old and about how they saw success. It was fun to study. One of the things we noticed was how all the missionaries in the Book of Mormon went to a lot of different places to preach. We realized we were not doing things quite like that – Senri has a lot of hills and is pretty big, so getting to all parts of the area can take a lot of time on bikes. But we felt prompted to start focusing our efforts on finding in the city of Minoh. Minoh is on the opposite side of our area from the apartment, but we decided to show faith and go there against however little time we thought we may not have. The first day we went to Minoh we found a 17-year-old kid who wanted to change his life and follow God. We taught him about prayer and his first prayer was super sincere. We are meeting him again today. There is never anything that can go wrong when you are following the Holy Ghost.
For their recent day off, Charlie and his district were able to visit the beautiful city of Kyoto. It’s a city filled with Buddhist shrines and temples, ancient streets and vintage shops. Here are a few more pictures from his field trip that day.
It looks like Charlie is enjoying every moment. Missionary work is hard work, but few things in this world are as worthwhile. Keep it up, Charlie Choro. We love you.