Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Monday, February 23, 2015

My 6 month mark passed...

Dear Everyone,
So, Friday marked 6 months since I've been out on my mission.... Wow that feels weird to say. Time flies when you are having fun right? It is crazy and I have had a great time, filled with many learning experiences and witnessing God's hand in my life everyday. I feel so blessed to do what I do everyday. I have also been out in the field for 4 months. I feel like I just got here haha. My Japanese is still not where I would like it, but I have totally improved. I can understand a lot more now which is really good. I still have so much I need to learn, but I am getting there. You know what they say; Line upon line, precept upon precept. In Japanese: 少しずつ。
So the big news of the week..... I am staying in Nishiwaki!!! I am super relieved! All day, I was thinking of the many possibilities that could have happened this transfer and I didn't want to leave Nishiwaki and say bye to all the incredible people here. So when I saw the email, I was ecstatic. 6 more weeks here is going to be great! And my companion is staying as well so another blessing. I am really happy about that.

Nice view of Nishiwaki after a short hike

We were in a forest looking for the せんみん。 (The elect)
So, this week,  we decided to change our view on finding. We decided that instead of going out and housing on random doors all day, we were going to dive into the area book and visit/call people who had met with the missionaries before and see if they have a new found interest. We were able to go through all of the area book, which has people as far back as 2007. So, we looked at each of the records and chose the ones that seem like they would have interest, who had been taught a lot, and those whose addresses or phone numbers were written on the record. We were able to find a good stack of people that we could try to contact. So now, we are going through them and calling/visiting the list and so far, it has gone pretty well. We were able to find a few former investigators who might want to hear more, and we are still in the process of going through the list. We were also able to find some maps which some older missionaries had put circles to some of their potential investigators that they had found back in 2009, so on Wednesday, we went to one of the areas and started going through all of the circles. We were able to talk to just about all of them. They remembered the missionaries, but they still weren't interested. But, we were able to plant more seeds and we were able to speak to each of them, which was a lot better than housing and not talking to very many people. So, we are in the process of trying to contact everyone. It has been working pretty well. We were able to find a couple new (but old) investigators in that process.
This Saturday, we had Zone Conference in Fukuchiyama and I was able to get my backpack back! It felt like reuniting with an old friend because I had gone a week without my Quad scriptures and my journal and every other study thing I had, which was a little frustrating, but I managed. Anyway, the conference was really great. I learned a lot more about what I guess Heavenly Father really wants me to learn about right now. And again, that it about Love. Love really is so important in everything that we do. Love is the motive of everything. I thought this was really interesting: We were talking about how to more effectively learn Japanese by working on receiving the Gift of Tongues. We watched a few videos made by the MTC about principles of the gospel that help you develop the gift of tongues. One of the principles was Love, Charity. They said, with Charity and Love towards the people you serve, the language is going to come so much faster. I think it is crazy that everything comes back to love, even learning Japanese. Everything is much better if you have charity. I really think Heavenly Father wants me to have a good understanding of this concept, so I am working hard on doing that.
So, as far as our investigators are going, we are having a hard time with getting people to progress. We have quite a few investigators, but their desire is not there. We are trying to find ways to help our investigators have a desire to learn about the gospel and to have a desire to change and accept the gospel. We also have investigators who love meeting with us, but don't keep their commitments which is really frustrating. You just want them to do what they have to do and when they don't do it, it hurts because you know that this is how their life can be better, and there isn't anything else you can do for them besides love them. We are trying different approaches to lessons and our contacting so that the people we teach will have more interest in learning more and eventually to enter into the waters of baptism. It starts with desire on the investigators part, and a Christlike showing of love on the missionary's part. Ahhh there is so much associated in the work of Salvation that is so hard to comprehend! That is why the Lord is the true head of this missionary force. There is no way we can do it on our own. 
Anyway, I am still enjoying the work. Some days are harder than others, but in the end, as long as you do your best, that is all that matters. There is no other way to true, never-ending happiness without this gospel. Jesus Christ is truly the only way for us to achieve eternal happiness. I long for the day that we can live in the Celestial Kingdom, with no cares in the world, and our loved ones by our side. There is no better happiness than that. I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week!
Elder Lamoreaux

This looks a lot like my seminary teacher Brother Frost.

Monday, February 16, 2015

What is Love?

Hello Everyone!

A Little Valentine's Day party at the Church.

I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day. This was probably the most uneventful Valentine's Day of my life. Not worrying about trying to impress a girl haha! Oh mission life...
We were able to teach a few of our investigators this past week. We have one investigator who has been investigating the church for 15 years (he's 28 years old). He has been taught everything and he knows everything he needs to know, but for some reason, he is pushing off his baptism. He is very close and he will get baptized, but he wants to choose the date himself and still has some concerns. He is a very deep thinker and the lessons are very hard for me. First because the content of the lesson is very deep and frankly, I am not much of a deep thinker. The other reason that it is hard is that it is in Japanese. These lessons would be very hard in English let alone Japanese. Luckily, I have a great companion who is also a deep thinker and good at Japanese. It is always fun to meet with him though. On Wednesday, we went over to his house and we had a lesson, then made Kimchi Nabe, which is basically a boiling pot of Kimchi, meat, tofu, and other vegetables. It was so tasty.
I was also able to go on a short Kokan (companion exchange) in Fukuchiyama again. I left my backpack with my extra clothes, my study things, and my bathroom things in the Church so that I wouldn't have to carry it around while we Dendo (Proselyte) but, we taught a lesson and had to hurry to catch the train back to Nishiwaki, so I had to leave the bag in Fukuchiyama. Pretty frustrating, but I will be able to get it back on Saturday this week, so not too big of a deal.
Anyway, on Thursday, we had the great opportunity to be taught by a member of the quorum of the seventy, Elder Aoyagi. He came to the mission and did a conference for the missionaries. So, we went over to Kobe to be taught by an incredible man and his wife, and President Welch and Sister Welch. Elder Aoyagi actually has an article in the January 2015 "Liahona". It is very good and I invite you to read it.
Anyway, the Conference was great. I learned a lot regarding Missionary Work, My personal relationship with Heavenly Father, the importance of being happy while serving and about Love. I learned a lot about Love and has lead me to study a lot recently on that subject (hence the title for the email.) Love really is the motive for anything you do. Love is the reason we are on this earth. Love is the reason that Jesus Christ suffered the Atonement for us. John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Love is the motivating force for good in the world. A lack of Love, or Love in the wrong things, lead to wickedness and destruction. I think that is why Love is the first and second great commandments. "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Matthew 22:37-39) I realized that a mission is all about love. We do missionary work because we love the Lord, and we love the people we serve. The reason we do what we do in the church is because of love. Elder Aoyagi shared a scripture that which had an impact on me. Moroni 8:16 "Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." Perfect love casteth out all fear. I thought, "What is Perfect Love?" The answer is Charity. Charity is the pure love of Christ. Christ is perfect, so he has Perfect Love. I feel like, so far on my mission, everything that I study goes back to love and charity. Charity is always that one thing that I have tried to develop. Charity never faileth. Also in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." Without Charity, you are nothing. That also means if you have charity, you have everything. Everything stems off of the concept of love. This has been my thinking recently. I am striving to understand it better and I really want to develop charity in my life. It is funny that it happens to be on Valentines Day that I am thinking about it, but I need to understand it better in order to be a better missionary. Please, if any of you have any ideas or things that could help me on this subject; love and Charity, please share it with me. I would love your opinions and views. What is love???
Anyways, that is me. I am learning and growing everyday, both spiritually and physically. I realized that is what a mission is for; growth and development. I always looked at missionaries as perfect people who already knows everything and is able to share it. But now that I am a missionary, I realize that that is so not the case. I realize that there is so much I need to learn and so much I need to apply in my life. But, the Lord loves us and works through us still. It is through teaching and serving others that you can learn the most. It really is funny how the Lord works, but I testify that he does work.
I love you all so much. Have a great week! Next week is the end of my 3rd transfer. It will be interesting to see if I transfer out of Nishiwaki. The news will come next week! Love you all! The church is true!
Elder Lamoreaux

With an awesome Investigator eating Kimchi Nabe. Very fun!

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015

Dear Everyone,

Today was another week on the mission. This week, we were able to have interviews with President Welch and Zone Training Meeting. It was a great opportunity to talk with President Welch. He is truly an inspired man and I am so blessed to have him as my mission president. Each of us were only able to talk with him for 12 minutes. That is a short amount of time. He set his iPhone timer  for 12 minutes. The interview felt like it was 2 minuets. It was insanly short, I don't think I have experienced a faster 12 minutes in my life. I wish we had more time, but I was grateful for that time. He is so inspired and again I am so grateful.
This week missionary work wise was basically normal. We were able to teach a few lessons, but none that were too significant to report. However, Larry (I decided to name our English Speaking investigator that) came to church and afterward, we were able to talk with him. I felt the spirit pretty strongly and we were able to answer his many questions to the best of our ability. It is nice to teach people in English because it is then that I can tell how much my testimony has grown and I can gauge on what I need to improve on. I learned that throughout my mission so far, I improved in teaching simply. I learned that this gospel really is pretty simple. Like I said last week, It all rides on the fact that God loves us, and he will never stop loving us. I was able to share with Larry a little bit about my thinking. My companion and I could sense a bit of a change coming over Larry. There was a good feeling in that meeting and he left probably the best 
prayer I have heard him say at the end of that. I could see the change in him from these 3 ish months since I have met him. In the first lesson, we taught him our way of praying and invited him to pray, but he didn't want to because he felt like we would judge his prayer. But now, he prays at the end of each lesson and each time he has improved. He still won't read the Book of Mormon yet, but he will get there. Like it says in 2 Nephi 28:30 "For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little". He will get there. Another thing that I have learned on my mission so far is that we need to trust in the Lord's timing. He knows all and he always knows what is best for us. He also knows what is best for those we teach. We as missionaries only have control over a few things. Our efforts, our personal worthiness, and our desires along with others. We don't have control over our investigators or the agency of others. We are here to plant seeds and to follow the Spirit. Our purpose as missionaries is to "INVITE others to come unto Christ by HELPING them to receive the restored gospel." It is not to Force or to Command or to Make them change. It is to Invite and to give them the opportunity to use their agency. We can't make them get baptized, we can only invite and help them make that decision for themselves. Just that thought makes missionary work fun and not stressful. We need to trust in the Lord's timing. Because he loves us and he knows all, everything will work out in the end.

I got artsy again...

A Crazy bike we saw in Fukuchiyama

So my mom said some time ago that she wanted "A Week in the life of Elder Lamoreaux in Japan". I haven't done it yet, so I am taking this opportunity to do it. (Dendo=missionary work (proselyting)) 
Monday-Preparation Day. Wake up at 6:30, exercise for 30 minutes, Get ready, eat breakfast. 8:00 Personal Study for 30 minutes. Then Companion study for 30 minutes. Then Language study for 30 minutes. 9:30, we clean the apartment for 1 hour, doing dishes, cleaning the Kitchen, bathroom, vacuuming, all that jazz. Then at 10:30, we go to the church to email. Us and the sisters usually switch off every week as to who emails first. So after email, (or before if the sisters are first) we go shopping. We go to a grocery store and get food for the week. Sometimes we go to Daiso, a dollar store with everything you need, or a nearby recycle shop that has really awesome ties for really cheap. Then we do whatever else we need/want to do, which is usually in the apartment taking a nap. Preparation day ends at 6:00 when we go out and dendo.
Tuseday-Saturday (Normal Daily Schedule)- Wake up at 6:30, exercise for 30 minutes, Get ready, eat breakfast. Breakfast for me is usually some kind of eggs or toast or cereal. Simple things. On the even numbered days, we go to the church for the study cycle and on odd days, we stay in the apartment for study. 8:00- Personal Study where we study the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, the Liahona, or anything else that the church provides for us to learn about the gospel and about our investigators. I always read the Book of Mormon for at least 15 minutes and that has really strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon. 9:00-Companion Study. We sing a hymn, pray, recite an "ansho" (The first vision, our purpose, D&C 4, or the Japan Kobe Mission Theme), read 3 pages of the missionary handbook, then discuss what we have learned in Personal Study. We then plan lessons that we have planned for that day and study about ways to help our investigators. 10:00-Language Study. I usually read the Book of Mormon in Japanese to be able to read it more like a native, to get some vocabulary from it and some grammar principles. I think about the lessons we have planned and write in English what I want to say, then translate it out in Japanese. Language study is hard for me, but I am getting better at knowing how I best learn Japanese. Then we have lunch. Lunch is a bunch of different things everyday. We make pasta, curry, yakisoba (noodles in yakisoba sauce with some meat and different vegetables) and whatever else we feel like making. Then from 12:00 to the end of the day, we are out in the streets of Japan finding people to teach, teaching investigators, and doing what everyday missionaries do. Trying to listen for promptings of the Holy Ghost as to where to go, what to say, who to talk to, which houses to knock on and everything else. At 8:00 ish, if we aren't teaching a lesson at that time, we go back to the apartment and eat dinner. Then 9:00 is daily planning session, where we talk about the day, and plan the next day, fill out the area book and discuss our investigators. then we get ready for bed, eat 2nd dinner, write in journals and then lights out at 10:30. Tuesdays at 7:00 is Eikaiwa where we teach Japanese people English. That is always fun. We usually have at least 6 people there, which isn't a lot, but it still helps them. It is a good way to do service and to get investigators and really to bond with the Japanese people. Saturdays at 7:00 is game night. We play Ping-Pong. That is pretty fun and my Ping-Pong skills have gotten much, much better. Most Fridays, we have District Meeting or Zone Training Meeting.
Sunday- Go to the church at 8:45 for DCS (Ward mission correlation meeting) (not sure the english for that) Sacrament meeting starts at 10:00. After Sacrament meeting, we either teach investigators that come, or if none come, we go to the Gospel Principles class or the Youth class. Then we go to Priesthood. We usually help teach the Young Men's class. Then at about 1:30, we go to the apartment for Lunch. 2:30 to 8:30, Dendo. Return at 8:30 to submit our numbers for the week and then prepare for bed. 10:30 sleep.

So, that is the mission life. Busy, busy, busy, but it is good. I am always exhausted at the end of the day, but it is a good kind of exhausted. The best feeling is if you can lay down at 10:30 and report to your Heavenly Father that you did all that you can to bring others closer to Christ. It is hard to be able to do that, I am trying every single day. Missionary work is work, but if our hearts and mind and strength are centered on Chirst, we can do anything. That goes for anyone, not just missionaries.

Well that was a long email. I will close by sharing one of my favorite scriptures D&C 123:17 "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." I know that if we do all that we can, if we put our 100% effort in serving God and in striving to be closer to Him, we can gain all that the Father has. We will be able to stand with Him in the Celestial Kingdom and look back on our life with no regrets. It will be hard, it was intended to be hard, but only through overcoming the hard things, will we be perfected in Christ. Like a quote that hangs in my Grandma's home "I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it." I know that is true.
I love you all and I am so grateful for all your support and prayers.
Elder Lamoreaux

Little zone selfie at Zone Training Meeting

Beautiful view of the Inaka (countryside) of Fukuchiyama

While on Kokan (Companion Exchange) in Fukuchiyama, we helped the Branch President build a greenhouse, storage thing at his house. We built the whole thing and it was pretty fun.

A couple of the Sister's investigators came to church yesterday. They are Filipino and they were so cool to talk with. Here are some pictures.

Monday, February 2, 2015

God is our Heavenly Father; An unknown fact

 Dear Everyone,

This week was a way fast week! It just flew by. I went on 2 Kokans (companion exchanges) which took up most of the week. I went with one of the zone leaders on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as an elder from my district on Friday and Saturday morning. It was a busy week to say the least. We were able to teach an average of 2 lessons per day, which was about how last week went. It feels good to be able to teach people and testify about the Gospel.

This is my area.... not much haha
Many people in Japan are Buddhist and they don't believe in our kind of God, so most of the lessons we have is discussing the fact that God is our Heavenly Father. We (well most of us. I don't know who all reads these emails) have grown up with the knowledge of Heavenly Father, but, most of the world doesn't know that. It makes me feel grateful that I have this knowledge of my Father in Heaven and that he loves me and wants me to be happy. This simple, simple phrase that we as born and raised LDS people have often overlooked, is what almost everyone in the world is looking for. There are many views and opinions on God. A person who seeks to torture, a spirit who has no role in our lives, nature, a scary God, a vengeful god, thousands of gods, a man like Zeus, etc. But we know that God is our Father; the father of our spirits and we lived with him before we were born. God loves us each individually. Because he loves us, he wants us to return to live with him after this life. Because he loves us, he prepared a perfect plan and sent his son Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of our sins, into this world so that we can be cleaned and we can live with Heavenly Father again. This knowledge is the thing that we, as missionaries in Japan, teach every single day. This knowledge is the basis of our belief and is an essential piece to our happiness in this life. I love testifying about Heavenly Father and by doing so, it brings me greater happiness and hope for this life. Hope that everything that happens in life is for a reason and hope that Heavenly Father loves me and wants the best for me, just like an earthly father would. It is beautiful. I know that God is my Heavenly Father and he knows me better than I know myself. It is the same for all of you too. God Loves each of you so much that we can't even begin to comprehend the love that he has for us. It is incredible. This basic knowledge that we have learned since we could think for ourselves is the key to happiness, true happiness. I didn't realize how important this is until I came out of the comfort of Utah Valley and into the world. Talking to hundreds, thousands of people and seeing how much they need to know about this gospel really strengthens my testimony and deepens my understanding of the love that God has for each of us. I don't know that much, my testimony isn't that strong, but it is growing and it is there. I am so grateful for my parents and my family and friends who have helped me grow and have helped me get to this point. I have a lot to learn and a lot of repenting and growing to do, but I know that the foundations of the gospel is the start of something truly remarkable. The things that we learn in Primary and the things that our parents teach us is the most important things you can learn in this life. I realized that missionaries are basically Primary teachers. We teach simple truths that LDS children are taught from day 1. This gospel is simple. Remember the things you learned in primary and life will be beautiful.

Wow i really rambled didn't I? Well I hope this will help somebody out there. It really is amazing though isn't it? God loves us. That is the gospel. Everything rides on that small statement. Alma 37:6 says "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." Simple is how Heavenly Father works. That is my testimony. I know that God loves us.

So yup, this week was a good, somewhat normal week on the mission. I am growing and trying to deepen my understanding every single day, and I can see a change. I love each of you and I invite you to write down your testimony of the simple things of the gospel and how the knowledge of it has helped your life.. God is our Heavenly Father, He loves us, We will be resurrected, God wants us to live with him again, Jesus Christ's example, Eternal Families. Things like that. I can promise you that you will see God's hand in your life and that your appreciation for the tender mercies that he shows for us will deepen. Life will be happier. I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Lamoreaux

I met a filipino person at a basketball activity. Super awesome guy!

Okonomiyaki. My companion taught me how to make it. It tasted really good

These are posters which advertise proper etiquette when riding trains and what not. They are so funny!! I love english translations 

What makes these posters even better is that the company is JT!!!