Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas - A Spiritual time of year

Merry Chirstmas!

The finished Christmas tree from the Primary. Thank you Timpanogos Park 4th Ward Primary!
Dear Everyone,
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Here in Japan, we were invited over to Kobe to have a "Christmas Taikai" (meeting) where we played some sports, then had Costco hot dogs for lunch (Yes, exactly the same as in Utah, It was great!) Then there was a talent show. After that, President Welch and Sister Welch shared messages that were awesome. After that, it was about 5:00 so we took the bus back to Nishiwaki. It was great to spend Christmas with the other missionaries and with President and Sister Welch. Very Grateful.

Met up with my MTC companions Elder Ross and Elder Madruga.
The next day, we were able to Skype our families. That was such a good thing for me. I loved it. 40 minutes is way to short though. I wish I would've been allowed more time, but I am very grateful for the time I had. I can't believe we can easily, for free, talk and see others from the exact opposite side of the world instantly with clear video as well. It is awesome!
Pictures from calling home
That day was a great day, but at the same time a little disappointing. So first let me say, about a month ago, we were asked to find revelation for how many baptisms we as a zone could have before the end of the year. We came up with the number 9. So the year is winding down, only 1 sunday left, and we needed many baptisms. So our focus was on one of our investigators specifically, because he has heard most of the lessons and has been to church enough to be baptized, but he says that his family is against him being baptized. So after calling our families, we got to work on preparing a lesson for that investigator. We got many Book of Mormon Scriptures that related to baptism and we incorporated it into our lesson. The lesson happened and it went almost perfectly. He said that he wanted to be baptized. He wants to we could tell. Then we asked if he would be baptized that Sunday, two days from then. He was worried about his mom not wanting him to. We tried to comfort him in that fact. I shared Isaiah 41:10 and 13. "Fear not, I am with thee" He loved that. We then asked him to call his mom right then, bear his testimony and his desires to be baptized and we promised that the Lord will soften her heart and he will be baptized on Sunday. So, after praying together, he got his cell phone and called his mom. Ring..... Ring..... Ring...... no answer. Then he tried again. Ring.... Ring... (at this point I am praying so hard that she would answer) Ring..... No answer again. So we asked him to talk to his mom that night and he said that he would. That lesson was the most spiritual lesson I think I've had on my mission so far. It was a battle of testifying and scripture and pleading and it was great. We were so excited and I was on a spiritual high for the rest of the day. We were confident that he would talk to his mom and that he would be baptized in two days. So the rest of the day, we were looking at the phone for emails from him and praying constantly that he would have the courage to do it. But eventually he didn't have the courage. I was very disappointed, but I guess it was okay. He will still be baptized, just not before the end of the year. I guess I was more interested in getting him baptized before the end of the year than for him actually being ready to be baptized. He will be baptized, I know that, but it will be in the Lord's time and when he feels ready to talk to his mom about it. It might not be when I am still in this area, but I am confident that it will happen, on the Lord's timing. Despite the slight disappointment, I learned a lot, and had a very spiritual lesson in which I am grateful for.
Well that was the bulk of the week. Christmas was great, a little different, but great. Oh I forgot to mention that one of the Sister's investigators got baptized yesterday. it was so great to see my first baptism in Japan. He was so happy and I was able to be a part of the circle during his confirmation. The joy and excitement he had was contagious and I have so much love for that man. He was at the church at 7:00 just waiting in the parking lot. Me and Harris Choro were there at 7:30 to fill up the font, and he was so excited and nervous that he came so much earlier than he was supposed to. I loved that. He's not even my investigator but I am so happy for him. Anyway, It was a great week. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your holiday with New Year's coming up. Stay safe and have fun!
Elder Lamoreaux

The man that was baptized yesterday. It was a great day

Food at the Branch's Christmas party on the 23rd. Japan knows how to do parties.
They even had a Turkey!

The missionaries

Decorations at the party.

We were Santa san's reindeer this year

The Branch had a big play prepared and it was awesome, even though I couldn't understand most of it

Christmas Eve dinner at the Branch President's house

One of our friends had a concert and we went. It was really fun
I left cookies and milk out for Santa.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Here is the last 5 minutes or so of our Christmas Skype with JT.  


Monday, December 22, 2014

Nothing too new this week.

Dear family and friends,

This week is Christmas! I hope you all have fun plans and if not, you are planning to relax for the holiday. I think Christmas will be a lot different this year because 1) I am in Japan and 2) I'm not with my family and friends. But it is a small sacrifice compared to what the Savior did for all of us. He is the real meaning of Christmas. If you haven't already seen the Christmas video that the church has put up, please watch it! The reason for the season is truly the gift that Heavenly Father gave the world and that is His Son, Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Because of him, we can all live again. I hope you remember that it isn't about all the fancy new toys that you get, or the things you could have, but it is about the Birth of Jesus Christ. He is the gift. Watch the short video. It is really good.

Anyway, nothing much has happened this past week. We had the first snow in Nishiwaki this week. It was like less than an inch, but it is still snow. It was gone by the time we went out to work, but we still had some. However, in the other areas in our zone, they had much more snow, like 6 inches so I am pretty grateful for being in Nishiwaki. :)

We had Zone Training Meeting on Friday and it was really awesome. I learned a lot about the mission work. It is God's work. He is always preparing people to meet us. We are not finding them. We are the lost ones and God is leading them to us. WE need to have faith and believe that miracles can happen because they will. Ether 12 talks about how miracles do not increase one's faith. Miracles come after your faith. Faith is such an important principle and it is also really complicated, but just trust in the Lord and everything will work out.
Well that's really about it. Have a great Christmas holiday and remember the reason for the season!

Elder Lamoreaux

We went to someone's house and they showed us their garden. So pretty
More of the garden
Harris Choro and I and the Recent convert who took us to this house.
We tried on Japanese Kimonos at that house. They are really cool, I want one.
More from inside the house
Elder Monson on a Kokan (companion exchange)
More of Elder Monson..
"Cabbage. Main dish isn't it?" on a bike.... ?
What was the church thinking, this is creepy!
"Don't throw the rubbish". Don't know why I thought that was funny

Monday, December 15, 2014

There is no such thing as a small miracle

December 15, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

This week was a great week. I'll share a couple experiences.
On Friday, we had the first District Meeting of the transfer. Since my companion is District Leader, he has to go on Kokans (Companion Exchanges) with all the elders in the district. (there are 6 elders in total) so after district meeting he went to Fukuchiyama (the other area in our district) and I stayed in Nishiwaki. I Kokaned with an elder who had just gotten to Japan last week. So we both are not good at Japanese at all and we were going to be doing missionary work together for a day and a half. Needless to say, I was freaking out. I didn't think I would be able to do it. I prayed a lot. Before that day, my companion showed me a talk in the former mission president's book of talks which shared about how 2 elders who both had only been in Japan for one month went on a Kokan and they were able to get many new Potential Investigators despite their lack of Language skills and experience. That gave me motivation and hope. We could do this. So the day came.
We didn't have any appointments planned for that day, so we went out to find people and to do housing. We went to an area where I hadn't been before and started housing. WE went for about an hour and we had nothing. I could barely understand anything and my companion, with him being here for only one week, understood less, but we could tell when they said no. We were about to head back to our bikes and go to a different area when we decided to finish a couple appartments before we left. Boy was I glad we did.
We did the first few appartments with no luck. Then we rang the doorbell and waited for a minute. He started talking to us through the door (many people in Japan do that instead of opening the door). We said that we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and then he said "Choto matte kudasai," which means "just a second" so we waited. We stood outside the door for about 3 minutes. We could hear movement through the door. It sounded like he was cleaning up. So he then opened the door and immediately showed me a ring he had. It had the Catholic cross on it with some writing that looked Spanish or Portuguese. We then started teaching him a lesson. Well tried teaching him a lesson. We talked about God and Jesus Christ. He said that he had been Catholic and he showed us a book, which I am guessing is a small version of the New Testament in Japanese. I wasn't completely sure. So we were talking for a little bit, apologizing for our inability to speak very well. Anyway, we ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and after showing him the flyer with a map to the church, I asked if he could go to church on Sunday and he said that he will come to church. We had found ourselves an investigator! After that, we were so ecstatic! We said a prayer of thanks and then went to the next area that we had planned on going. I was on an adrenaline rush or something because I felt amazing after that. The Lord had totally prepared him and helped him endure our speaking abilities. However, he ended up not coming to church, but we can visit him again and follow up on that.
We found that all throughout the day, people were answering more than normal and were allowing us to talk more than normal as well. Later that night, we were able to find another person who became an investigator. We taught her a lesson about God and prayer. She already had a pretty solid knowledge about God, so she was prepared to hear us as well. That day, I saw the hand of God in all that we did. I have only been in Japan for a month and a half and my companion was only in Japan for a week. I didn't understand everything that they said, but when we saw those investigators, they spoke simply enough that we were able to understand. I felt the mercy of the Lord. I learned more about how the Lord prepares people and provides means for them to hear the word, if both parties are humble enough to allow Him to guide them.
The next day, we were still on the Kokan because of weird schedules, so Me and the first transfer missionary taught a lesson to the English speaker we met a few weeks ago. He again brought his deep questions. He asked about Spiritual Gifts and Angels. I keep thinking "dude why aren't you baptized yet?" Anyway, we answered those to the best that we could through the Book of Mormon. He then showed us a video that he said touched him. It was a preacher talking about prayer and God's ability or even inability to "interfere" with man. As I watched that video, I felt dark. I don't know how else to describe it except for dark. The preacher has a PhD in Theology and everything he said was logical and made sense. I can now see how people can come to believe in people like that. Like in the Book of Mormon with False priests or Anti-Christs like Korihor and Sherem. They use flattering words and logic to get to the people. Everything he said made sense and wasn't completely wrong, Except for when he talked about how God couldve stopped Eve from eating the fruit. The preacher said, "God could've stopped her and everyone on earth would have been well off." So we stopped it there and explained again about Adam and Eve and about the plan of salvation a little bit, because we had already taught him about that. And then I asked "Do you believe in the things that we had taught you so far?" He said he believed in a lot of it but didn't like some things including "giving too much praise to people like Joseph Smith" We then explained a little bit about the organization of the church and reassured him that it isn't like that in our church. He understood that more. Then we testified about the Book of Mormon and that he can know these are all true if he reads and prays about it. He needs to read the Book of Mormon in order to know for himself. We told him that we could keep telling him it is true but it isn't going to do anything unless he finds out for himself. We then asked him to commit to reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it and he agreed to that. WE also invited him to Church the next day. He said he would come. All in all it was a good lesson, and I am so grateful that I had been raised in the church my whole life and that I have a solid testimony of the teachings of this chruch. That video and people like those preachers can lead people away so easily with their logic. Don't listen to them! Stay true to your own beliefs and the teachings of the Prophets and you will be okay. Don't question your faith. "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"
At church yesterday, we had four investigators come including the english speaker. They all had a good experience. We ended up teaching the english speaker after sacrament and got a more solid commitment from him about the Book of Mormon so hopefully he reads it. That's all he has to do.
Well, that was a long letter. A lot happened this week and I think it was the best I've felt so far. The Lord is working with all of his children. I felt his power this week. Pray, he is there. Speak he is listening.
Love you all! have a great week and remember the true meaning of Christmas!
Elder Lamoreaux (Japan)
I love how I have to clarify that now :)
The District. Me, Monson Choro, Anderson Choro, Novak Choro, Kiki Choro, Harris Choro, Hood Shimai, and Cain Shimai.

another Japan sunset.

This is how we do S'mores in Japan

An awesome "mini niagara falls" we found. This statue was next to it

Pink Pepsi??? Tasted like raspberry or something...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

December 8, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This week was a rough week missionary work wise. We have trouble scheduling times to meet with our investigators. We usually show up at their house when we say we would, but they usually aren't there, don't answer the door or they say they are busy. It is really frustrating, especially when we plan something for them and we end up not meeting with them. Because of that, our progressing investigator pool is slowly becoming stagnant. But, we always pray that they will want to meet with us more and that we can improve our efforts in fellowshipping and becoming more persistent. This week, we also didn't find as many new investigators as we normally do. But we still have faith and we are doing the things that we have to do. We pray that the people will accept us and want to hear this message. We also have a lot of work to do to improve.
It is so cold here!! The sad part is, it is only December and apparantly real winter doesn't start until January ish... Another sad part is that it probably is only 40 degrees Farenheight(sp?) but it is bitter cold because of the humidity. I don't know if I have ever been constantly cold like this except for maybe winter campouts. I don't like cold.....
A cool thing about this week though is that we had to sit in in a couple lessons with the Shimai when they taught one of their investigators. He is the coolest person and a golden investigator. He pretty much gave himself a baptism date. They gave him a Book of Mormon two weeks ago and he is already done with Alma. that is insane especially in Japanese! He is so incredible, I'm kinda jealous that he isn't our investigator, but I am so happy for him and his progress. He is the one in the picture with us missionaries.

I'm having fun here. Japan is awesome. The people are great. They are all so nice. Even when they say no, they do it in the most apologetic and kind way ever. They usually say something like, "Gomen nasai, sumimasen, watashi wa choto isogashi node, sumimasen, kiyotsukete kudasai, sumimasen!" "ごめんなさい。私は緒と忙しなので。すみません。寄与付けてください。すみません” which basically  means "I'm sorry, excuse me, I'm a little busy. I'm sorry, take care , excuse me!" So yeah, they reject us, but they oh so kindly reject us. That is just Japanese culture and I like it.
Anyway, I love you all. Not much new and exciting things happening this week. I hope you all stay warm and have a great week.
Elder Lamoreaux (the one in Japan) ラモロー長老

Happy Birthday Sammy! 

A random election poster that I had a fun idea with. "Read the Book of Mormon!" モルモン書お読みなさい!

So this was Gomez Shimai's last night in the field, so the Branch President took us all out to a restaurant to eat. It was an expensive fancy restaurant and I felt so bad! They spoil us too much. Despite our pleads, we still ate there. The food was pretty good, I'm not gonna lie. This is a plate of appetizers, shrimp, lobster, salmon, potatoes, cream puff. The other one is a bowl of soup. (soup wasn't that good. Zupas was better:))

Dessert.. too fancy, I felt unworthy ;)