Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 10, 2011 E mail

        Hello everyone! This has been one busy week! I think that one of the best things that happened was that two of our investigators were able to come to general conference! I had been looking forward so much to seeing conference, and it made me so happy that even though none of investigators have been coming to church lately, two of them were finally able to make it to hear the prophet`s voice! I think I have mentioned this before, but it just seems that every time I watch conference, particularly since coming on my mission, I just get a bigger and bigger boost from it. Every time I watch it I get a stronger confirmation that each and every one of those men and women who speak, have been called of God to deliver his messages and guidance for us. I thought that Elder Carl B. Cook`s talk was incredibly apt in describing the way that prophets guide us...I feel like there are so many times that I slip into staring down, but then I read or listen to the prophet`s words, to their guidance, and it redirects my gaze towards our Heavenly Father, towards the joy of the gospel. I feel so so grateful for having that guidance again this past`s helped me a lot to recognize things that were making my gaze maybe slip a little lately.
        I feel things have gone pretty well with investigators this week! We had the two investigators come to General Conference as I mentioned before, Nakatou and Otsuki, and we were able to meet with others throughout the week. Due to Yoshiya being out of town, we weren`t able to meet with him...but we have kept steady contact with him on the phone, and he has read up to chapter 12 of the book of mormon! We asked him a little bit about what he has learned so far, and he seems to be loving it! He was describing back to us the experiences that the family of Lehi were having, and seems excited to talk about it at our next appointment on Wednesday! He is awesome!
        Abe still seems to be having a hard time finding something that makes him really WANT to put in the effort for gaining an answer, but I felt the spirit there during our lesson with him, and Elder Numakura and I are looking forward to seeing what happens this next week.
        Kind of on a different topic, but kind of related...we have had an awesome success with one of the members on the "To The Rescue" list! He is fourteen years old, and has been in-active for majority of the time since he was baptized last year. We had called him a weeks ago with no answer, but then on Wednesday evening before Eikaiwa, we were surprise housed by him! He just knocked on our door, and asked if we could come to church and talk! We of course went with him, and ending up talking and playing ping pong with him until Eikaiwa started. He participated in that too, and then we all went home...thinking that we would get in touch with him again soon. Well, we did...but it was all through him again! The shimai ran into him on the street the very next day, and called us, saying that he wanted to meet with us again. He had actually left his bag at the church the night before, so we picked that up and then went over to his apartment. We were able to have a great lesson with him about "For The Strength of Youth" and he prayed at the end of the lesson! He wants to meet again this next Wednesday. He is written in our area book as being the fellowshipper for probably about a half dozen former investigators, and so are really hoping to talk with him about that as well and see if they can become investigators again :) We have really been trying to work a lot with the less-actives (as have the shimai) and I think we are really starting to make progress. Four of our less-actives were able to come to conference yesterday, which really made us happy :)
         It has been an awesome experience to have the Matsuhashi couple in our district so far! They are a ton of fun, and probably two of the kindest people ever. We have been doing our best to help them in any way that we can, and are excited to work with them more! It was kind of an intense district meeting this past Friday...while preparing I kind of felt like there couldn`t possibly be anything I could teach them because they have so much more experience than I, but I tried my best and I think the lesson turned out well.
        I actually totally forgot to mention it last week, but we had a really neat experience visiting a PI as well! About a month or so ago, we ran into a filipino lady, who said it would be okay if we came back and shared a message with her, right? Well, over the past weeks we have gone many times, but they have never been home...until finally the week before last, we dropped by and they were there! She was there with her boyfriend, and invited us to come as soon as she opened the door! (That is something I haven`t experienced in awhile!) They invited us into their living room, and said "we`re so sorry that we haven`t been able to meet lately, please share your message!" Kind of on a random side note, while we were getting to know them, we found out that her friend had been in scouts when he was a kid! Something that he had in common with me and Elder Numakura...we had a fun time talking about that :) Anyway though, we had a lesson mainly centered around Heavenly Father and us being his children, and invited them to read from the book of mormon and pray. The filipino lady already firmly believes in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and said that she really wants her friend to be able to gain that belief as`s going to be great to teach them more!
      This transfer is just slipping away way too fast, but I`m determined to make the most of it! I`d better get going here pretty quick, but thank you as always for your wonderful examples and for all that you do for me, I love you all so much! The gospel is true!

                                                                     -Elder Voss

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Monday, 3 October Email

Hello everyone!     

         This week has been amazing!! I can honestly say that I feel I am in one of the best districts that, I mean that everyone in this district is full of dendo fire, everyone is working hard, and we are seeing miracles! One of the greatest miracles that I feel we have seen this past week is our new investigator, Yoshiya! We actually came to know his family through a mistaken phone call, and it absolutely amazes me the way that from something so small, we have something like this come from it. Yoshiya`s family is Chinese, they all speak English fluently, and have lived in Japan for most of their lives. They are non-denominational Christian, and all have a strong knowledge of the Bible. The parents and several others of this family (did I mention that there are 13 people in this family?) have a pretty set mindset in their beliefs, and don`t really want to learn about our church...but they had no problem with us talking to Yoshiya. He is 20 years old, a college student,and is pretty much living a party life right now...doing crazy things with his friends, and not really considering where he is least until recently. We called him this past Tuesday, and we asked if we could meet with him and share a message with him about our church. He replied by saying yes, and that recently he has been having a lot of questions about the purpose of life, and how he can lead a life that will bring him happiness! I strongly felt at that moment, that he is being prepared and that we had been guided through something even as random as a mistake call, to someone who needs this gospel. We met with him, had a great lesson, and committed him to read from the book of mormon and pray every day...which he accepted! We are going to meet with him again tomorrow, and are really excited to see how things turn out :)
        We have had some great experiences with our other investigators as well...for the first time in a couple weeks, we were able to talk and meet in person with our investigator Abe, and finally able to have a joint lesson with one of our members who is preparing to go on a mission. It was awesome! He has been struggling a lot with having enthusiasm and desire to keep commitments and to progress, but I really feel like that lesson had an impact on him.
        Those were most likely the two greatest experiences that we had with investigators this past week, but that was just a small bit of good things that were happening. Elder Numakura and Sister Nishimuro just came in, so we met with President Itou to re-establish our desire to help him, and discuss the plans for dendo in Matsumoto. We had a great discussion, and he identified new people that he would like for us to focus on for To The Rescue, as well as asked for our help on a new list that he has created to bring back all the in-active children of member families here in the branch. Honestly, I love our branch president...he is a ton of fun, and he is really, really enthusiastic about the dendo here in Matsumoto!
         It has been a ton of fun to work with Elder Numakura so far...he is great! He is an awesome missionary, full of dendo fire, and he has great ideas for applying the trainings here in Matsumoto. Really looking forward to things that we will be able to accomplish during this transfer! It has been a really intense and busy week, and it has honestly been a really weird experience to get used to being the gaijin district leader of soon to be five Japanese missionaries. Honestly I must have changed a lot or something, because while we were meeting with President Itou, he was talking about how if you`re a gaijin you can use that factor as a good dendo tool...and he was like "It`s a pity that we don`t have any gaijin in Matsumoto anymore...Oh! Well except for Elder Voss...but you don`t really seem like a gaijin though!" Haha, we laughed quite a bit over that one.
         We had some great lessons with in-actives, have been making plans for our halloween and other activites, and preparing to welcome in the couple missionaries on Wednesday! The work is going absolutely great! I have been able to feel the joy of the gospel so much throughout this week...I love the people here so much, and I love learning about the gospel and growing with them. There is something so special about Japan...there difficulties for sure, but the people are so amazing :) The gospel is true!
         I love you all! As usual, have a wonderful week, I`ll look forward to hearing from you next week!

                                                                                                      -Elder Voss

P.S   The pictures that I`m sending are of our district after district meeting, and Elder Numakura and I outside of our apartment...we walked out the other morning to find that festival rope strung all over the buildings...there was a matsuri at the shrine that is next to our apartment. Don`t ask why we are eating it...we don`t know either :P