Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Deviating from the Order of the Universe

Sorry for not writing in so long!

I threw all my long-sleeved white shirts into the wash this morning, and then they weren't done when it was time to go out, and we're not allowed to just wear short sleeves in public during the winter season (it's a rule of Japanese business attire or something), so today I'm wearing a suit jacket over top of a short-sleeved shirt.  It feels weird.  Hence, the title of this post--it describes my feelings today.  I don't plan on doing this again.  o.0

This past transfer has been rather slow.  Because of that, I've had more time to reflect on the past and future.  I learned a lot, seeing patterns I hadn't seen before.  It's one thing to know God loves you, and another thing to feel that love, and yet another to grasp the deep and apparently subtle implications of that love as it connects with God's wisdom and foresight.  I feel like it was really good for me, but towards the end of this six-week period I've been feeling like it's time for a change.

Yesterday was transfer-announcements day, but it was also the day Elder M. Russel Ballard decided to have a combined mission conference with the Tokyo and Tokyo South missions, so transfer calls became transfer emails this week.  And we got the emails after the conference.

Elder Ballard was traveling with his wife and with President Rasband of the Seventy and Bishop Stevenson (the Presiding Bishop) and their wives.  They all got to speak to us.  It felt so good to hear Elder Ballard's voice at the beginning of the conference as he greeted us and announced who was going to speak in which order.  

In the second half, when Elder Ballard gave his talk, he spoke about teaching people who don't have a Christian background.  He said, "You have to be the best teachers we've ever produced." He said that part of the reason for that was because the world today is full of clutter (mobile devices, the Internet, so much information everywhere)--it's hard to get people to settle down for a minute.  Another thing is, we have to make sure they understand clearly who God is before we can really move on to any of the other doctrines we teach, or it won't quite make sense to them.

The awesome thing, I thought, was that if we link what Elder Ballard said to 1 Nephi 3:7, we effectively have an apostolic promise that we can be the best teachers the Church has ever produced!  But that, along with what Elder Ballard's companions said, made me realize that I really need to get on the ball, because I'm not getting nearly enough teaching practice right now.

Elder Ballard read Acts 3:1-11 to us, particularly drawing our attention to the phrase "fastening his eyes upon him" in verse 4.  He used that as a theme for the rest of his talk.  He told us we had to be able to teach any doctrine, at any time, in any circumstances, by the power of the Spirit, and he talked about "fastening our eyes" on individuals--making sure they understand what we've taught; making sure their needs are met.

Before he left, he shook hands with all the missionaries.  ^__^  Then he directed the mission presidents to spend a bit of time with us, so President Wada and President Budge switched off sharing their thoughts and impressions.  Then we went home and got our transfer emails!

I'm transferring to Yamate (山手), in Yokohama City.  That's the area where the first LDS missionaries to Japan, including Alma O. Taylor and Elder Heber J. Grant, landed.  It's where Elder Grant gave the dedicatory prayer for Japan.  My new companion (who I'll be meeting on Thursday) will be Elder Strain.

I'm looking forward to it.  ^_____^

"Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded."  
--2 Chronicles 15:7

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