Monday, March 6, 2017

What a Week!

Elder Whiting Conference

This week was truly one of the most interesting weeks of my mission. It was so busy and so many things happened that I don't know if I will have enough time to explain it all, but I will do my best! I am going to go day by day that way it makes it a little more organized and easier for me to write. 

Monday - We of course had our P-Day which was a good time but it was cut a little short because we had to catch a plane up to Fukuoka for a meeting the next day. We hung out in Naha (Southern Okinawa where the airport is) for a few hours and hit up a couple shops so that was pretty fun. 

Tuesday - We woke up in Fukuoka and since our meeting wasn't until the afternoon Elder Conder and I went out to proselyte. We handed out 2 Book of Mormons in the hour or so we had and talked to some way cool people. This one guy we met was actually living in Las Vegas as an entrepreneur opening up his own Karaoke bar but was back in Fukuoka to get some business ideas. His English was way good and he said he'd give the Book of Mormon a read and contact the missionaries in Las Vegas! After that we went back to the mission home to have our special MLC (Mission Leadership Council). About 30 missionaries from the mission come together to participate in a training given by Elder Whiting of the Quorum of the 70. I wasn't really sure what to expect going into the meeting. I honestly was a bit nervous on what exactly he would talk about. As we began the meeting though I felt the spirit rush into the room and the subsequent two hours was one of the best trainings I have ever received, ever. He shared many experiences and taught us much from the scriptures but the most impactful thing I think was just how he taught us. He taught a whole group so simply and made it such a discussion guided by the spirit that it was so easy to feel comfortable in. Out of all the lessons I have ever participated in, his lesson and the way he taught reflected the Savior more than I have ever experienced before and it was just simply amazing. After the meeting we flew back home because the Elder Whiting mission tour was beginning in our area the following day.

Wednesday - All of the missionaries in Okinawa (about 50) all came together to our church building for the Mission Conference we would be having with Elder Whiting. His training in some ways was very similar to the previous day, but most of the stuff he said was completely different. He said he didn't come with written or prepared talks, all he said he came prepared with was the attitude of helping our mission. Through all of his Council and example he did just that. Anyways, it was just an absolutely amazing training and I was so happy he had the chance to come teach us all. The conference ended up taking most of the day, however we did have about 5 or so hours afterwards so we went on companion exchanges with some elders that were down on one of the remote islands (Miyako) because their flight back home wasn't until the next day. I went with one elder and we had a blast! We found a new investigator and had a great time together. 

Thursday - The day started off normal but then got more interesting later on. To explain I kind of have to give a little backstory. So last week this tall Japanese lady and this shorter young Mexican girl came to our church. At first they just asked to use the restroom so we let them and then they said they wanted a tour of the church since they had seen it so often. So we did that and quickly found out that they were apart of some Christian church north of us. And the main reason they came was to argue with us about our beliefs and try to "prove" to us that we are wrong. They had looked up and researched lots of anti Mormon material and just tried to argue with us. So we politely asked them to leave and thought that would be the end of that. But then they randomly showed up to church while we were there planning and so we taught them a lesson. It went a lot better than I thought it would and we were able to give out a couple Book of Mormons to them.

Friday - We had companion exchanges again but with different elders. This time I went with a pretty young missionary and we found a new investigator! As well as met with this really nice lady at night and she almost became a new investigator but wanted to "study on her own" for a little bit. But she had some real potential so I am excited to go back and see what she thought of the Book of Mormon. 

Saturday - This day was supposed to be another companion exchange with another district leader in our zone but we got a call early in the morning that a member from Taiwan who was visiting Japan had a heart attack that morning. So we went to Naha with a senior missionary and did translating at the hospital and gave him a priesthood blessing. It was one of the most sobering experiences I have had on my mission. The man who had a heart attack was relatively young (45) and had 2 young children (3 and 6). He was in fairly good health and the doctors had no idea why he had it. While we were at the hospital in the ICU room seeing this man on life support it reminded me just how quickly things can change in our life and why we must always be thankful for the simple blessings we enjoy each day. It was amazing to also see the faith of his wife as she made sure before the doctor did anything he would receive a priesthood blessing first. Overall it was a pretty difficult day to see all that and to see how torn their family was over this incident. It makes me wonder how some people or families survive through difficult experiences as this without the knowledge of the plan of salvation, which tells us that we can be with our families forever, even after death. 

Sunday - I guess this day was pretty normal comparative to others. It was nice to go to church and soak in the sweet spirit that accompanies it. Sunday is always one of my most looked forward to days. We have the opportunity to go to both the Japanese and American sacrament meeting so we get double to amount of awesome talks and lessons. It really does help prepare me for the next week and help me reflect on the past week and what I did good or not so good and how I can improve. 

That was about it though for my week! Sorry this email is so long, it probably sounds like lots of rambling on so ごめん!  Another thing that kind of happened this week is my companion will be returning home this Tuesday. So that means I will go into a three person companionship with the others in my apartment. It will make the last couple weeks of this transfer interesting but I'm excited for the experience we will get to have together! Im so thankful for the knowledge I have of the gospel and the peace in brings to my heart on things I know are out of my control. To end I would like to share one of my all time favorite scriptures, it is found in Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God...". As we trust, rely, and love Him and do all that we can then everything will work out. I love you all! Have a fun week and remember all the small blessings! 


Elder Sherrill 

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