I feel that I have really learned to love the work even when people tell me that they are Buddhist and that I am wasting my time, or when they speak Japanese to me and I have no idea what words are coming out of their mouth! I have learned to love this work simply because it is the Lord's. Sometimes discouraging things happen in our lives. Sometimes things may turn out to be a lot different than we thought that they were. I can testify that the Savior's Atonement encompasses all of that. All of the pain and instability of LIFE! Whatever happens that we don't quite understand there is someone who really truly does. Our Heavenly Father has a greater plan for us than we do for ourselves.
Something that I love doing every night is laying down on my futon and reflecting on my day. I assess the parts that went well, the hard parts, the things I learned, and I find great satisfaction when I am completely exhausted because I know that I am working hard. This reminds me of a quote from Elder Holland's talk during General Conference: "Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don't rock the boat but don't even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds. Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes - and this seems the greatest irony of all - these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of "comfortable God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like "comfortable" doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in."
I believe in a Savior that suffered for my sins. I believe in a Savior who has a perfected, glorified body. Who lived a perfected, glorified life. He is all love, all mercy and all justice. He is the Savior of our world. Because it is Easter, it is the perfect time to focus on the Savior. To think about why our Heavenly Father allows us to be put in a rough spot. Why He allows the trials of life to sand us down, refine us a bit, and put us in a bit of an uncomfortable spot.
Sometimes I think about what it must have been like for Heavenly Father to watch the Savior suffer on the cross. I think about how He must have felt as he heard the Savior whisper the words "...remove this bitter cup from me..." or as He heard the Savior quote scripture: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" as he suffered the physical pain of death. I cannot imagine the pain that our Heavenly Father felt as He watched His beloved son suffer for all of mankind. That is real love. "For God so Loved the world..." (John 3:16). "For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39). And so it is. How AMAZING is that? I am so full of AWE! When I think of that perfect love, that perfect mercy, and the perfect justice that is wrapped up in the Atonement of Christ. I will never fully understand it.
"This is the testimony last of all which we give of Him: That He lives!" (D&C 76:22) I add my testimony to the testimony of Joseph Smith! That He lives!
|From Preparation Day when we took a trip to the Mountains|
(And a quick update on some fun dendo stuff....)
This week we met with a girl from China! She is so cool! And her Japanese is pretty good, she has been living here for 7 years and studied before she came to Japan. But, we have to speak a little slowly and precisely because her Japanese is more simple. I love it because I can understand everything that she says! And not just by the context of all the words! But, she was nervous about studying with us (largely because of the language barrier, because we would all be speaking in our second language) but we helped to dispel her fears and she is now open to coming to church and studying the gospel with us!
We also were able to meet with our amazing sixteen year old investigator who I love to pieces. She is amazing. She was like "I am SO sorry! I only read the Book of Mormon a little bit every day and I mostly only pray twice a day...but I try to do more! I am just so busy!" The doseki in the lesson was like "uh...that is awesome!". It was so great. She also applied for a home stay in America and she is going later this year! So if anyone is hosting a Japanese Exchange Student, you might get my favorite sixteen year old girl in the world. In other great news- she fully intends on going to church in America! I am excited for her to see what a larger ward is like!
Oh and a hilarious story - this week we were out talking to people at a park, and we were called over by a large group of Vietnamese and Korean guys who all spoke decent English (but fluent Japanese, so that was good) and they made us food and might all come to English class. It was pretty interesting. We also taught a spontaneous lesson on the side of the river last Monday night. It was an interesting experience.
Have an amazing week!