Monday, January 11, 2016

Another day in 日本!

Yuichi's Baptism

Yuichi's baptismal program

Jason's comfy futon

A tissue box with Jason's name on it

Sushi last pday

All the missionaries in Jason's branch

One month down since I have been in Japan! Wow, I never thought it would have gone that fast! It kind of scares me for how fast the rest of my mission will go by because people say it just goes faster and faster the longer you are out. This week was amazing and we had a baptism! One of our investigators Yuichi was set to be baptized this
coming Saturday but we felt he was ready last week so we called him and he was more than happy to move his date up! He met the missionaries for the first time about 2 years ago. Since then he has been meeting with them off and on but coming to church every Sunday. About a week or two before I came to Saijo he came up to my trainer
and his old companion and asked "where is my spirit? I want to feel it". So they began to meet with him a couple times a week and as they extended commitments they saw a huge change in him and even just being here for the latter end of it I have seen him change so much. It is truly beautiful to see the change the Gospel brings to people's
life's. After he was baptized and getting changed into his normal clothes he was talking with my trainer, Elder Harrell (he baptized him) and my trainer asked him how he felt. Yuichi said to him, "I feel light, there has been a lot of mistakes I have made in my life and I just feel light, like they have been lifted off of me". Seriously so amazing!

It made me think of how I felt after my baptism and I remember I felt the same way. That next day on Sunday when he was confirmed I was thinking a little more about it I remember how right after I got baptized people would sometimes say to me, "you are so lucky to have just gotten baptized, you are so clean!" Right as that thought come to me I thought of the sacrament. Each week every member of the church whether they were baptized the day previous or 30 years ago has the opportunity to partake of the sacrament and when they do so they renew
those same covenants that are made at baptism. They have the same opportunity to feel cleansed again through the sacrament. So as I took the sacrament I realized the experience I have when doing so can be the same as when I was baptized. It is so important to really focus on the sacrament. It is such a huge blessing in my life to be able to have that each week to covenant with God that I will follow his son Jesus Christ and always remember him.

Moving onto the rest of this week it was pretty normal except we received training from the AP's and it was amazing! During the training they were focusing on Christ like attributes among a couple other things and something one of the AP's said really stuck out to me. It was, "we can work on ourselves by focusing on others".
Throughout the training he said many people focus on just themselves and how they can develop this attribute more or that attribute more. But he said as we instead turn outwards and focus on other people, on their needs, on what we can do to help them we will be working on ourselves without even knowing it! I really loved that and it is something I am going to try and do more of.

At training we also had the opportunity to have interviews with President Egan and during the interview I learned so much. We talked about consecrating ourselves as missionaries and devoting all of our time and strength while we are serving to him. He shared two great scriptures in the New Testament I would like to share with you all. The first was Matthew 10:39, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." The second is similar and it is found in Luke 9:24, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. After we read these together he looked at me and asked me what I thought they meant. I couldn't help but begin to cry as I said to him that we must not "save our lives" by being selfish because we will have lived a life only for ourselves and not serving our fellow brothers and sisters. But those that "lose their life" for Him. Those that devote their lives to serving Jesus Christ will be saved, they will give service to all those around them. They will pattern their lives after the savior and they will have lived a life worth living.

I love this Gospel so much and I love the people here in Japan. I am learning so much and I know all that I am going through and experiencing is to help mold me into the person God wants me to be. I hope everyone has an awesome and safe week! I miss you all!

Love, Sherrill 長老

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