Tuesday, April 28, 2015
This week we have entered the digital age is of missionary work! I'm currently typing this email on my iPad. And by "my ipad" I mean the missions iPad I get to use till the end of my mission.
We got tons of training on iPads to help prepare us to both be safe from temptation and distraction and also to be effective with it. It was a really powerful training that I think will really help me the rest of my life. Some of the main points they emphasized were:
-The iPad will not convert people. The iPad does not have the Holy Ghost. You do! Nothing will replace a testimony borne sincerely by the Holy Ghost.
-Temptations to misuse technology are greatest when we are feeling bored, stressed, angry, lonely or any of those negative emotions. We need to be able to recognize those feelings in ourselves and avoid using it when we have those feelings.
-Filters are helpful, but they are always changing and no filter is perfect. The only filter you can always rely on is your own personal testimony and the help of the Holy Ghost.
-Don't turn on your device till your intention is clear. If at some point you you aren't sure what your purpose is, turn it off.
Its amazing the help it will be, but at the same time, I think it will always be missionary work. It has been the same since the dawn of time, and will be today, only that now God is hastening His work in His time.
Along with many miracles this week there were also stresses as well, with lessons not turning out how planned, stresses in relationships with members or missionaries and also just in worries that came to me.
This past week I started noticing how difficult it is sometimes to be a parent, the messy diapers, the lack of sleep, the stress and difficulties. Ever since I was young I have always wanted to be a parent, I love being a kid myself! Playing and enjoying the simple things of life, but I think for the first time in my life I realized that it isn't all fun and games, that there were challenges and difficulties too. As I watched these Japanese families and there adorable little kids I wondered, " Can I handle that? Would I be able to be a good father?" "Will I be able to manage, work, family, school, church, and all the other demands in life?" These kind of worries and fears started to come to me.
With this in the back of my mind, on the way back from church I read President Eyring's talk at the women's session called "The Comforter" about the power of the Holy Ghost
When I got to Mosiah 24:14-15 my eyes stopped, and it sunk deep into my heart. I felt the Spirit truly speak to my fears. It says,
"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
When I read this scripture a calm peace swept my fears away, I literally felt this comforting power of the spirit like a cool breeze blowing the stress away almost as if to say, "Yes, you won't be able to do it yourself, but don't worry, you don't have to.
Because I will be with you."
And I know and trust that He always will.
Elder WaltonSent from my iPad
Monday, April 20, 2015
Dear Loved Ones,
Here's the update on how the work is going here in Shuri Okinawa.
We actually have a decent amount of investigators, the Lord has been blessing us a lot lately. Especially with the youth, this past week the Lord led us to 3 college students (one trumpet graduate student and a couple) who are actually all quite interested and are pretty solid investigators. I have never taught so many youth before it is so fun!
On the down side, Mitsuru was going to get baptized this next saturday, but he told us he needs some more time, he still wants to be baptized, but he doesn't feel ready yet.
It's okay though, I was honestly getting a little wierded out because the missionary work was going just a little too smoothly, and that just about never happens haha. But I even though there are always bumps and downs and ups, the Lord is with us every step of the way and as I read this morning
"The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught." -DC 3:1
One of the biggest miracles we had this week was yesterday. After church we taught an investigator named Shirasuna san. He has been an investigator for a while, and is kind of becoming an eternal investigator because he still doesn't feel like he has gotten an answer. Well anyways we taught him yesterday and for the first time since we have taught him we were able to really get into his heart.
He is a 21 year old college student who really just wants knowledge, but he has never really let the gospel into his heart, always talking simply about what the doctrine, is, but not really the meaning it would have for him. But this time we felt the spirit guide us so much so that we knew what he needed and the questions to ask to help him see that he needs to desire to know god, to have it in his life and were able for the first time to get into his heart.
In big and small ways Heavenly Father is always guiding me, I am so grateful to him!
Love you all,
Monday, April 13, 2015
The April liahona had an article in there called "weakness is not a sin" and since reading it I have come to ponder a lot on what that means.
I feel like one of the most commonly felt feelings as a missionary is inadequacy, this feeling that we don't measure up. I think that is a feeling that we have all often felt in life.
Sometimes when I feel that way I think that the solution is simply that because I'm not good enough I need to try harder and harder till I become good enough. Yet strangely, usually that simply leads to me feeling worse. As I pondered this principle and Moroni 10:32 I felt prompted to read the story of the pharisee and the sinner who go to the temple to pray.
The phrarisee is doing the right things and thanks himself the Lord that he is better than the sinner. But the sinner realizes his weakness and relies on the Lord. I felt the spirit speak to me as I read it saying to effect, "The reason God was dissappointed with the Phrarisee wasn't in his righteous acts, but in his trusting of himself"
And I realized that when I feel inadequate, and simply try to try harder and harder, I'm really trusting in my own arm just like the pharisee. But as President Utchdorf taught in conference and the Liahona taught too, the real key is simply to humble ourselves and rely on Him and realize that without Him we will never measure up.
I now that without Christ, we can never make it, but if in our times of feeling weak and inadequate, we will simply humble ourselves and turn to and rely on Him, He will truly make weak things strong and give us grace to be more than we could ever be alone.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Dear Loved Ones,
This past week was my birthday. I was completely content at celebrating it simply with some early morning pancakes and some cool vanilla ice cream. My companion, however, had other ideas. Over the previous week he and some members coordinated a surprise party at english class (which fell on my birthday) He in the middle of the class (which was a pizza party) suddenly said "I forgot to email president! Ive got to do that right now!" So he takes me to the computer room really quick and when we come back no one is there.
"Huh?" I think for a second, and then everyone jumps out with a cake and surprises me! I was pretty oblivious to a lot of obvious signs that week that it would happen, but hey, all I was expecting was some ice cream.
But I really felt my companions love a lot. He is a champ!
We are currently working a with several good investigators here. Our most progressing is named Mitsuru. He is a 50 year old architect, who loves to laugh and has a really gentle heart. He has a date for the 25th of April and is pretty solidly committed, all he needs is to continue strong with quitting tobacco, (clean as of this sunday) and if he can do that he will be set! Please pray for him!
We are also teaching a 30 year old named Nakayama who is full of smiles and really wants help in his life to overcome the temptations around him, Shirasuna, a 20 year old college student, and Masa an 18 year old. We are also still working on teaching the Ab lessons to new convert Hiroko, she is a hilarious grandma. She is great!
Some of you may know, but last week after finding and removing a tumor, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. To be honest, I have had a lot of trials in my time as a missionary, yet just just like Nephi says in 1 Nephi 1:1 I have also had so many amazing mercies from the Lord.
This time too, when I first found out, it was hard for me to process and figure out what I think and how I feel, but in the evening when finally the lights were out and the day was over I was able to really just pour out my soul to Heavenly Father. His love, His willingness to always listen to me with so much love and care and warmth gave me so much comfort. I know that whatever is put in His hands will all work out. =)
Pictures: My birthday
Me and my companion at the castle in our area
Beautiful Okinawa Sunset
Monday, April 6, 2015
This past week I received a letter from one friend and an email from another both praising me for what what kind of person they thought I was, one so full of love and light and goodness. I felt like they had this image of me that was so great and so amazing, and yet I myself felt so inadequate, I felt like I was really so weak in so many ways. It's ironic that it is on the mission when you get the most spiritual strength and growth so fast, but at the same time, it is also where you come to realize just how weak and inadequate you really are.
This past week me and my companion were talking to people on the street and we talked to this one man about the purpose of life. I asked "Do you think we have a purpose?"
"No I don't" He replied glumly.
"Well what do you think happens when we die? Do you that is all just the end?" I asked
"Yep that's the end" He said.
"Isn't that sad to you?"
"Yes, but I can't ignore it." He finally said with a tone that expressed the sadness in his way of thinking.
Unfortunately then a crowd of people bustled us and all we were able to leave with him was a flyer and a short testimony that there is more to this life. We walked away and I couldn't help, but feel so sad for him, living life with such a sad gloomy perspective. I yearned for him to know, to understand and feel the light and joy that comes from knowing God's beautiful perfect plan. To know He was loved, that he was valued and he had a beautiful joyful purpose.
There are so many trials in this life I have seen so many trials in my families lives, in those around me and loved ones and others, but that is what makes His Easter gift so beautiful to me. He died for each one of us, for those suffering with disease, or with heartache and pain, guilt and sorrow. And He lived that we may all be healed. Though Him every dark pain can be turned into peace, light and healing.
I was pondering the other night how amazing a gift God has given me of His gospel, the beloved people in my life, this mission I'm on and especially His son, and I couldn't help but be overcome and weep, I tried to express in words how grateful I was, but nothing could come out that would adequately express what I felt. Then I realized that this gratitude was not something I could express in words, it is something I will have to express in a lifetime of action of being a disciple of Christ and I am so grateful that I get to show him my thanks, forever.
Pictures: 4 member kids that live in our same apartment building
Us feeding ducks with Shin Chan, Our recent converts grandson
Man I love kids!