Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Whole New World

Dear Everyone,

Well, as the title implies, we reached a new place as the Japan Kobe Mission. We now have iPads! They are way cool. Right now, we can use them for study and for teaching. I found the Gospel Library App to be really convenient and helpful. I used to use that app before my mission, but now, I really, really appreciate it. It literally has just about everything the church has to offer in it. All the Mormon Messages, "I'm a Mormon" videos, Bible videos, all the church manuals, church magazines, conference talks. Not only in English, but just about every language, including Japanese. It is so helpful to have everything in one, easily accessible place that you can hold in one hand. It felt like Christmas Day when we got them on Thursday. I feel like a person who just discovered technology, because I think all the things that you could do on them is so cool! Anyway, as the time moves forward, we will be able to move on to using the Area Book App and then later on to Facebook and Skype. I am excited to find out about all the amazing things that these can do and how it can make our missionary work so much more effective.

So, this week was great. On Tuesday, one of our plans fell through, so we were housing. I wanted to do an area that I have been thinking about going for a while. So there we were able to talk to a couple people and we found a new investigator! He said that he believes in Jesus Christ and has been wanting to learn more about him. He was first introduced to Christ when he was in prison actually. When he later got released, he met with some kind of missionaries (i don't think it was our church) who read the bible together with him. Then he moved to 西脇 Nishiwaki and has been wanting more ever since. So, we found him and hopefully he can progress in the gospel. Then after that, we went to McDonalds for an appointment that we had. It was with one of our Filipino investigators and he accepted a baptismal date! Hopefully all goes well with him, he can continue to progress and he can be able to make his date at the end of the month. I am so excited for him and I have a really good feeling about him.

Then on Thursday, we went to Kyoto for a combined Zone Training Meeting with the Kyoto Zone. We woke up pretty early to make the train to Kyoto. We rode 5 different trains (Dad would be jealous) in order to get to Kyoto, so you can say that was pretty stressful to try to make it on all of the trains on time. We only had about 4 minuets tops in between trains to find it, pay and get on before it left. We were able to do it pretty effortlessly though which was good. The train ride there took us through Kobe and Osaka, so I was able to see the 3 big cities in the mission. 

View of Osaka in the distance. On the way to Kyoto for the iPad handout, We took trains that took us through Kobe and Osaka and Kyoto, the 3 biggest cities in the mission.

Cool buildings in Osaka
Meiji headquarters in Osaka. The building is a big chocolate bar!


Awesome river in Kyoto
So, in Kyoto, we got the iPads as well as screen protectors and cases from President and Sister Welch. We set them up there and then I was off to Toyooka for a kokan (Companion Exchange) with 高橋長老 Elder Takahashi, one of the zone leaders. So, A LOT of train rides that day. In all, about 6 hours of riding in a train.

The kokan was a lot of fun. We were able to teach a few lessons that Friday and we ended the day with a meal at an investigator's house with the Toyooka Sisters. There, we had Karai Nabe (Spicy Nabe... look it up on Google). With that, they had a bottle of "Death Sauce" a very spicy hot sauce. A little tiny drop was incredibly spicy. We had fun taking turns eating that. I have a couple funny videos that I wish I could send but the email won't let me. Anyways, it was a fun Kokan, and I learned a lot also. Being with a Japanese Elder for more than a day was difficult, but it was a great learning experience.

Me and 高橋長老 Takahashi Choro on a Kokan. We went to SUBWAY!! We were asked by a couple different people if we were 双子 (twins)! 1) he is 27, I am 19. 2)He is Japanese, I am not Japanese. It was pretty awesome!
When I came back to Nishiwaki on Saturday, Scowcroft choro got sick, so we went with our branch president to the hospital (because everyone in Japan goes to the hospital for every little thing). It was my first experience in a Japanese hospital. It smells just like a normal hospital, and the language barrier makes me not want to ever have to go to a hospital on my mission. Anyway, turns out that Elder Scowcroft has a "Respiratory infection" which I guess is just a fancy way to say he has a cold. So, we were stuck in the apartment the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday. I was able to get a lot of study down and was able to really learn how to use the Gospel Library App on the iPad.

Well, that's about it for this week. I encourage you all, if you have some kind of smart phone, or tablet, to download the Gospel Library App and a really cool app called LDS Pamphlets. You can do so much good for others via facebook or other social media, and you can have everything you would ever need to study right in your pocket. The videos on the app are great and you can post them on facebook or share it with coworkers, friends, people at school. Really the possibilities are endless. Right now the church has an Easter campaign called #becausehelives. There is an amazing video on Please watch it and share it with your friends. Because He lives, we can live again and we can be together with our family forever. Because he lives, we each have a best friend that we can rely on for anything. Because He lives, we are forgiven of sins if we follow him. 

Hope you all have a great week! The church is true! Keep Smiling and Give'em Heaven!
Elder Lamoreaux
日本神戸伝道部 西脇市

Me and a big bowl of Karaage (boneless fried chicken... basically the best thing ever)

The 駅 Train Station in 京都 Kyoto. It is huge

Stairs that can light up in the train station. Apparently when it is dark, the lights put on shows like the Bellagio Fountains.

高橋長老 Elder Takahashi and I TP'd the sister's bikes because they pranked us. Revenge!

                            Pictures from the iPad

The view in Toyooka

Monday, March 23, 2015

Disciples in the Digital Age, along with other cool experiences

 Dear Everyone,

Wow, what a week. I have a couple awesome experiences I would like to share, with some HUGE changes coming in the near future.

I got artsy again. Isn't this cool? Spring is in the air here in Japan.
So first, on Thursday, we were going to visit our 73 year old investigator who never leaves his apartment building because he says it is too cold. He does all his shopping over the phone and all he does is sit and watch TV, order groceries and read the newspaper. So, we usually visit him pretty often because he is always home and willing to talk with us. So, that day, we were walking up the stairs to the third floor, when we passed the mailboxes. Usually his mail box has his name plate on it with a combo lock to lock it, but they both weren't there. We saw that and was confused. Then we got to his door and usually in Japan, they have their name on a nameplate above or next to their door, but our investigator's name was gone! We rang the doorbell and no one answered. We tried opening the door (because that's okay in Japan) but it was locked. His door is never locked. He had all of a sudden moved out of his apartment! He had told us before that the city was going to move him to a different, nearby apartment complex with an elevator some time, but he didn't tell us when. So we freaked out because our investigator (who is really close to being baptized if he can just come to church) disappeared. So, we spent the next few days trying to look for him at the 3 only apartments which I knew had elevators. Our odds were very few, but we had to find him. My companion and I would make jokes like "We did so well with him, he was probably translated already!" We also came up with a hashtag: #search4_____ (I can't put his name down). So, let the housing of apartments begin! We housed 2 apartments with elevators completely with no success; nobody would even let us talk, which was really weird. Usually we can at least ask if we could say a message, but there, we could barely introduce ourselves. Until, we reached the bottom floor of one apartment. We were able to teach a short lesson about the nature of God and about families and we were led to a pretty decent Potential Investigator. We will visit her again sometime this week. She was the only person we were able to talk to that whole time. We still didn't find our investigator though. But, after finishing those apartments, we both felt like we should go back to the apartment where our investigator lived. So we went back there and his name and combo lock was back on the mailbox and we got to the door and his name was back on the name plate! My companion and I were so confused. We rang the doorbell, but nobody answered. However, we tried the door, and it opened and it still looked like he was living there. (It was late, so he was probably sleeping. He's an old man.) So, we were confused to say the least. However, I know we were led to that potential investigator we found, because the only reason we would be searching those apartment buildings is if something crazy like that happened. I don't know what happened with our investigator, but it seems like he is still where he always was, and we found a potential investigator who we wouldn't have found otherwise. The Lord works in mysterious, and sometimes confusing ways.

On Sunday after sacrament meeting, we were teaching our English speaking investigator. He is such an amazing person, searching everywhere he can for the truth. He doesn't like to decide on anything until he sees just about every person's point of view, which is a really good trait that most people don't have. That desire to learn more has led him to believe many different Christian beliefs; some of which are correct, some of which are far from the truth. Most of the time though, he is so close, but yet so very far. During this particular lesson, we felt that his desire to know the truth is a lot like Joseph Smith's experience, so I wanted to read straight from Joseph Smith history. I read the first 20 verses of Joseph Smith History. When I was reading it, I could feel the spirit confirming the truth of it unto me. As I got to "I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun," my eyes filled with tears. That doesn't happen to me very often. I don't know if me reading that had any impact on our investigator or anyone else, but I know it helped me. I know that everything Joseph Smith said and did is true, it actually happened. I know that Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and that we are guided by a prophet of God on the earth today and his name is Thomas S. Monson. I know that Jesus Christ established his church again on the earth through Joseph Smith and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that church. This is the kingdom of God on earth. Reading Joseph Smith History confirmed that for me, better than it was before.

So, now for the bread and butter of the week; The mission-wide conference in Kobe. The whole mission (200+ missionaries) came to Kobe to hear Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak to us. The topic was "Disciples in the Digital Age" and we all knew what that means. The missionaries in Japan are going to be using iPads in our missionary work! In order to introduce that, Elder Nelson came as well as the Area President, President Ringwood. What an amazing experience. All the missionaries were able to shake Elder Nelson's hand; the first time for me to shake hands with an Apostle of the Lord. He said there are many reasons that the brethren are choosing now to allow missionaries to use iPads. Obviously the iPads will be a great tool for teaching and using Facebook and Skype can connect the missionaries to the whole world, but he said the main reason for the missionaries to use them is to help themissionaries learn how to use technology the way the Lord intended it to be used. He said that almost every missionary, before they left the mission, had a lot of bad habits, including being on social media too much and pornography. So, in order to put an end to that and in order to build a "Strain of Sin-Resistant Saints", the church is giving missionaries iPads to strengthen the future of the church. The church is giving us training so that missionaries can develop "safeguards" which are like internet filters that can allow us to be masters of the iPads; not being servants to them. They also emphasized the fact that this is for "all the remainder of your days". Also that by following these principles of righteous technology use that the church is teaching missionaries, they can overcome the bad habits they had in the past.

I learned so much during this conference. I learned how much of a blessing it is to be on a mission. I also kind of feel cheated. I thought that me going on a mission meant that I would stop my life for two years serving the people and giving back to the Lord for all that he has blessed me with, but even with that, he gives me so much more blessings! I can never give back to the Lord all that he has done for me, because no matter what we do, we are still indebted to him. He has so much grace and mercy that he freely gives to us, we cannot even begin to comprehend. This opportunity to use iPads on my mission is not just a blessing so that we can better teach our investigators. It is a way for me to learn good technology habits that will prevent me from falling into Satan's grasp and it will allow me to use the internet safely and the way the Lord wants it to be used. I can then help my children and my family be able to use technology righteously. This is the way I can overcome the things of the past. I was hooked on technology; always on facebook and instagram and doing who knows what. I wasted a lot of time on my phone. So, by applying these principles, I can overcome those and can really live up to my potential. If anyone is debating whether or not to go on a mission, I invite you to go. Give those two years (or 18 months) to the Lord, and he will bless you more than you can imagine. With this conference, my eyes were opened just a little to the future blessing that can happen in my life if I am obedient and do my best on this mission. I know it is the same for every missionary as well. I have learned so much and I still have a long way to go on my mission. I feel so blessed and I feel that the words from this conference and the chance to use iPads are going to help me for the rest of my life. It was an answer for me.

Dang I wrote a lot. I really hope you don't get annoyed by my many words. Hopefully you can make it to the bottom of my emails without sleeping.. Anyway, this was my week. We should be getting the iPads on Thursday, so things will be a little different, but it will be for the best! Exciting times are here, hold on to your seats.

Elder Lamoreaux
日本神戸伝道部 西脇市

Eating with some members! Such a fun time with great food!

The mission life; riding bikes everywhere

Beauty Saron. (Japanese people can't pronounce L)
 I thought I matured during my mission... 

The view of our city 西脇 Nishiwaki. Otherwise known as the west armpit (西- nishi, west. 脇- waki, armpit.) and famous for being 日本のへそ (Belly Button of Japan) (へそ- Belly Button). I love it here

Monday, March 16, 2015

Refreshing Week

Dear Everyone,

This past week had its ups and downs. We had a few appointments fall through and we are still struggling to meet with a lot of our investigators. We haven't had much luck in finding either, that we didn't find any new investigators last week. However, we did find a couple strong looking Potential Investigators.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty slow. Monday night after preparation day, we had a lesson with our investigator who has been investigating for 15 years. I don't remember if I have said this before, but he has made the decision to be baptized already. But, he wants to get baptized in good ole Orem, Utah by one of the returned missionaries that has taught him. However, he doesn't know yet when he is going to permanently move to Utah or if he even can do that. So we are continually working with him, trying to help him understand what exactly Baptism is and also the importance of coming to church. (He doesn't like some of the members and doesn't think he can connect with any of them. They aren't "up to my level".) But, we are helping him and I have seen some progress since my stay here. On Tuesday, we had a couple appointments fall through and then we did some Area Book work. We are going through our Area Book and organizing it in preparation for the iPads that will be coming before the end of this transfer (Some time in the next 3 weeks!) I am so stoked for that. It is going to be a big change and a very exciting one. I will give more details when I know more, but as for now, that is all I know about it. We also taught 英会話 (English Class). That is always fun because the people who come to it are actually pretty good, so we teach them weird American sayings like "I can see it in your eyes" or "to drop a hint" or "buff". Weird things like that. It is pretty fun.

Wednesday was a pretty frustrating day at first. We had an investigator call us the night before and set up an appointment with him at a place called ステラールパーク (Stellar Park) which is about a 45 minute bike ride. So we decided to just spend the whole day there, visit some Potential Investigators and then teach that lesson. The lesson was at 4:00, so we had all these Potential investigators/Investigators that we planned to visit before it. So we went after lunch at 12:00 up to 社 (Yashiro) to visit all these people. Well, no one answered the door and it was 2:00. Then we get a call from the investigator and he said that something came up and he couldn't meet with us. It was very frustrating. We go up there for that investigator, planned the whole day up there and then had it all cancelled. So we were housing for the rest of the afternoon. Then at about 6:00, we decided to visit a few more of our Potential Investigators who Elder Harris and I found months ago. One of them was a Filipina lady. She was still interested in talking about God and said that she wants to go to church, but has a 5 month old baby and no drivers license so she can't go. Her Husband is SGI (a stirct branch of Buddhism) and doesn't believe in God, but they both respect each other's beliefs. She says that if she passes her drivers test in the summer, she will come to church. She then wants us to visit some of her Filipino friends that live close by. So, we are getting the Filipino community in Nishiwaki together! We have 3 Filipino investigators right now, and about 3 more potential investigators. They all speak pretty good English too (Thank you for the Philippines. I can still survive speaking English to Filipinos.) I have another story about Filipinos that I will get to in a little bit. We also visited another P.I. who seems like she can go really far and be a strong member and maybe a missionary if she comes into the church. It's a little difficult because she is about 16 years old and so we can only teach her with a member, or in a public place, and right now, she is only a P.I. so we are still working with that. I can really see her going far. Hopefully it all works out. So that day ended being alright.

Thursday, we met with a couple members and had food and shared a message. I will try to send a picture of it soon. It was really fun and the members here in 西脇 (Nishiwaki) are like family to me.

So Friday was an incredible day. Like I said in the title "Refreshing Week" this day is the reason for that. So I went on another kokan (Companion exchange) in 福知山(Fukuchiyama) with Monson 長老. He planned on visiting a Potential Investigator that day. It was a pretty cold day. I was in my overcoat with gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Monson 長老 and his companion found her when they were housing. They felt prompted to go to an apartment building that they had already done pretty recently, which was odd. They then found a person who was interested and they said that they would come back the next week. So, we went that day. It was probably one of the most spiritual moments of my life. She is, you guessed it, from the Philippines, close to Manila (I don't remember where. She says that she knows Binangonan though.). So since she is a younger female (probably early 20's) we couldn't go inside her house, so we had it with us standing outside with the door open. I said that it was cold before. The wind was blowing and yet, the whole time she stood out there. She was wearing short shorts and was barefoot, and she looked really cold, but she didn't complain at all. We taught her the whole Restoration (English by the way). All throughout the lesson she was smiling. We taught her the Joseph Smith experience and after explaining the First Vision and testifying about it, she said, "I feel it. I feel it." When she said that, I could feel it too. There was a powerful spirit there, probably the most I have felt in a lesson. We gave her the Book of Mormon in Tagalog and we even invited her to be baptized. At first, she was hesitant saying "I don't know". Then we shared Mosiah 18:8-11 which talks about baptism. Then we asked her again and she said "Yes" confidently and with a smile. She also said things like "Ever since I was born, I have been alone." and "My mom also lives in Japan, but we are not close." At the end of the lesson, I asked "How do you feel?" She answered, "Happy. Like I want to cry." and then this next thing she said broke my heart, "This is the first time I felt like someone cared." Wow. The spirit we felt was so thick at that point. We just stood in silence for a little bit and then we ended with a prayer. She was so prepared to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that I was able to meet her and to teach her and to feel what I felt during that lesson. I really wish she was in my area, but either way, I am so happy to have been a part of it. It was nothing that either me or Elder Monson did. It was all Heavenly Father working through us, caring for His child. I really hope that she continues to progress and can one day feel the happiness and cleansing power of baptism. I hope I can see it too.

Yeah, that day was the gallon of water at the end of Football practice. The jump in the pool after a hot day. It was refreshing. It is experiences like that that make you forget all the hours of constant "kekko desu"'s and no's. That is what missionary work is; being a part of and seeing the hand of God work in your life and the lives of those you teach. I want things like that to happen with my investigators here in 西脇 Nishiwaki. The joy in that person's eyes, which has seen emptiness, sadness and loneliness, was miraculous. I am so humbled by God and his majesty and grace. He truly loves each and every one of us and knows exactly what is happening in each of our lives. He knows us better than any of us can comprehend. So much so that he pours out blessings upon us; so much so that our "cup runneth over." (Psalms 23). It is truly incredible to be a part of this work. Many days are long, and it seems like you aren't doing anything, but then experiences like that make all those no's, all those doors, all those people who don't want to listen worth it. God is so merciful. He has a hand in every aspect of our lives. I testify with all my heart that that is true.

I wrote a lot this week. I hope that this isn't too much for you to read, but I feel that I needed to share these experiences with you. I know without a doubt that this church is true. That Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ that spring morning in 1830. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and was written for us in this day. Jesus Christ is the way to true happiness in this life, and everlasting happiness in the next. God's plan is perfect.

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老

P.S. This week, the whole mission is going to Kobe to see Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak to our mission. I am super excited to be able to hear an apostle of the Lord speak to us. It is going to be a great opportunity. I will report on that next week. Have an amazing week!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rain, rain, Go Away... Please...

Dear Everyone,
It has been a very rainy week. I don't know if I have seen so much rain in my life. (in Utah anyway). We have to leave the house everyday with our rain gear. Today especially has been rainy. Heavy rain too. It's a good thing today is preparation day though. Anyway, let's get on to the past week.

Yesterday at church, we had the opportunity to hear from an Area Seventy. 青葉長老 (Elder Aoba) in the Area Seventy came to visit his son's family, who live in the Nishiwaki branch. That was an awesome, and lucky chance for us. Actually, my companion Elder Scowcroft's first area was Niihama, where Elder Aoba was serving as Branch President at the time, so we were able to talk to him for a while. Once again, I feel so blessed to be in 西脇 (Nishiwaki). Opportunities like this one don't happen to every missionary. He even invited us to come to the Leadership meeting that they were having after church, so we went to that too. He talked about how to get the younger generation of the church more active and excited about the church. Especially in Japan, the younger generation (primary to young adult age) is weakening and so it is very important for everyone to work hard on establishing the church in the families. By doing daily family prayer, scripture reading and weekly Family Home Evening and going to church each week, we can strengthen relationships within the family, as well as strengthen the body of the church. By making Christ the center of our homes, we can strengthen the whole church, one family at a time. 

A little side note on yesterday. I played piano for sacrament meeting and 青葉長老 (Elder Aoba) came and complimented my piano playing. (I messed up a few times, but he was really nice). He also wants me to come serve in Shikoku, which is the big island in our mission, where he lives. That would be very fun and since a member of the Seventy said i should, i should probably go there right? haha we'll see.

Each week for sacrament meeting now, we have an investigator carpool! This week, one of our new investigators (who is Filipino) came to sacrament meeting on his bike and so our English speaking investigator who comes every week, offered to give him a ride to church every week. So that happened! I think it is kinda funny that the investigators that we have coming to church recently are English speakers... We are still working on the Japanese speakers!

On Friday, we had Zone Training Meeting at 福知山 (Fukuchiyama). We talked about the importance of prayer. I wanted to share a couple of parts of the 'Prayer' entry in 'True to the Faith'. "If you have a difficult task before you, Heavenly Father is pleased when you get on your knees and ask for help and then get on your feet and go to work" I really like that because how many times have we prayed for something to happen, but yet don't do anything that will help in accomplishing it. I can remember back in High School when I would have a lot of homework. I would pray and ask that I would be able to finish the homework well and on time, so that I could get good grades. That is a good thing to ask for right? But, I would be lazy and not do the homework to the best of my ability and I would be lazy and procrastinate. So, my prayer was almost worthless because I did nothing to help that prayer come to pass. God expects us to do our best in order to "fulfill" our prayers. Action needs to happen on our part in order for God to fully help us. "As you make a habit of approaching God in prayer, you will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Your desires will become more like His. You will be able to secure for yourself and for others blessings that He is ready to give if you will but ask in faith." In missionary work and really in any part of our lives, we need to be one with the will of our Heavenly Father. He knows what is best for us and our lives will be so blessed if we are complying to His will. Prayer is a big contribution to being unified with God. Also, God has blessings waiting for us. Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. That is God's promise, and he never breaks his promises. One more. "Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He may not always answer as you expect, but He does answer—in His own time and according to His will. Because He knows what is best for you, He may sometimes answer no, even when your petitions are sincere." God loves us and he does hear our prayers, I can testify of that. He knows us perfectly and knows what is best for us. I have said it before, but it is so important. We need to trust in God with all that we have, even when things aren't going well. We need to have faith that everything happens for a reason and everything will be for our good. I learned that Prayers should be an important, even one of the most important, aspects of our individual lives. Before my mission, I didn't think prayers were a big deal, and because of that, I hardly prayed. Now that I am on a mission, I need prayer more than breakfast. Prayers have such a huge impact in our everyday lives. We can talk personally to the creator of heaven and earth and the Almighty God will answer us personally and privately. How incredible is that? Communication with God all day, everyday, should be the first thing on our everyday "To Do List". Please try to develop the habit of saying a prayer at least every morning and every night, as well as Family Prayers. It will go a long way. I testify of that truth.

So the coolest thing that happened Investigator wise is the new Filipino investigator. He is a friend of our other Filipino investigators and he seems like the one with the most potential to progress far in the Gospel. He came to church by himself yesterday and I think he had a good experience. He is 18 years old and like a lot of Filipino people, grew up Catholic. He has a few questions regarding the gap between the Bible's teachings and the Catholic beliefs. I think he has very good questions that this gospel can answer perfectly. I really think that he has been prepared by Heavenly Father to hear about the restored gospel. I am really excited to continue teaching him and hopefully to see him accept the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have big goals for this transfer. I really want to strengthen our investigators in the Gospel and in order to do that, I need to dedicate myself to more sincere prayers and more dedicated study and service. We have many investigators who if they would keep their commitments, could progress very well. With prayer and fasting and work, they can do it and it will be amazing. The work is starting to pick up pace and I hope we can be able to Bring many people into the fold of God.

Thank you for all the support and the prayers on my behalf and on behalf of all the missionaries throughout the world. I love you all. I am having a great time here (despite the rain) and am learning every day. Remember Alma 37:36-37. Have a great week!!

Elder Lamoreaux 

Missionaries meeting with a member. Fun times!

 It's my name on a drink!!! Too bad it's coffee...

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2. Elder Lamoreaux's letter

Dear Everyone,
This was a pretty good week. Let me tell you about some of the investigators that we have been working with.

We have an investigator who has been investigating since he was 14 years old. He is now 47 years old... He works with his family in the "Toy Temple". It is a crazy toy store that looks like a castle. He is pretty good at English because he has been with missionaries for a long long time. He reads the English Book of Mormon because he thinks it is a lot easier than the Japanese one. We recently found him in the area book so this week, we decided to pay him a visit. He has missed the missionaries and we were able to introduce ourselves and we set up an appointment for tomorrow. he says he will probably be baptized some day, but isn't because he respects his family so much. His family is Bukkyo (Buddhist) and has been for generations, so he is a little skeptical about being baptized, but the desire is there, and we can work with that.

We had another investigator who came to church last week. At church, we taught him a lesson about the nature of God and about prayer. He answered our questions perfectly and we had very high expectations for him. He seemed so very golden. We planned to meet with him again before the Volleyball activity we had on Saturday and we were going to give him a Baptism Date. But, he texted us a very disturbing text the night before. He talked about how he thinks Jr. High School girls are attractive and other very sketchy things of that nature. There was no way we could take him to the activity (he is 37 and the activity was held at the Jr. High School). He eventually got mad at us because we said "you shouldn't be saying things like that" and he said he didn't want to see us again. Very scary things, but it turned out being okay. I learned, again, that people have some problems that they can't fix by themselves. Sometimes it is a mental problem (there are a lot of people with these kind of problems in the boonies of Japan) and in some situations it is best not to have them join the church. It is kinda sad, but the Atonement already covers them and they will be fine. The Atonement is perfect and God's plan is perfect. Everything will work out.

Another investigator is one who has had a very hard life. He is about 40 ish(not really sure) and he has had bad experiences with religion. In his past, he was approached by some "missionaries" from one of the sects of Buddhism. They gave him a book and other things that he didn't like and they were very aggressive with him. Apparently the book had some kind of demonic feel and since then he has never trusted any kind of religion and especially their books. So, he will not accept the Book of Mormon yet, but we are helping him out little by little and he has made a lot of progress so far. He will eventually warm up to the Book of Mormon and he has a lot of potential.
We found (from the Sisters) a couple of Filipino investigators. They are young (18 and 23) and they have very great beliefs. So fun to be around. They speak fluent English and Tagalog (I still can't speak Tagalog... I wish I could..) and a little bit of Japanese. They have strong Catholic beliefs. They have a great idea about who God is and about Jesus Christ. We have yet to have a proper lesson with them, but I think they will go far, if they can have faith to find out if our church is true. And, hopefully some day, I can get some Filipino food from them. (I miss that so much!)
So for the general feel of our teaching pool, we have many very unique people. It is very hard to get any of them to progress in the gospel. We don't have anybody on baptism date right now, but that is a goal that my companion and I have this transfer. We want to get all of our investigators progressing, so that they can fully experience the blessings that this gospel brings to their lives.

A big push in the mission right now is member-missionary relationship. So, we have been trying to meet with the members to develop trust in us and for the members to have more "Dendo Fire!" (Excitement about Missionary Work). It has been fun so far to meet with the incredible members in this branch. I want to testify about the power that you, members of the church, have in missionary work. Every member of the church has people that they interact with that are not members of the church, or who are less active members. You have many missionary opportunities in your everyday lives. You could make the missionaries' work so much easier and much more effective if you plant seeds. We as a mission and as a district in the Church are trying to have the members be the main source of the missionaries finding. 70% of the missionaries' time is spent tracting, knocking on doors or streeting, trying to find people who would even listen to what we have to say. The vision for the district is that the missionaries use all their time teaching people. Imagine if the missionaries could teach someone every hour of every day. That would be so incredible, and, with the help of the members, it could happen. It is hard I know, but it can happen if we have faith and Christlike love. Moroni 8:16 says "I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." If you have love for the people you interact with, the gospel topics will come up naturally. We can all do missionary work, not just the full time missionaries. We can do it!

So, I am still learning a lot, trying to teach, testify and baptize, trying to bring others to Christ. I know that by small and simple things, great things come to pass. Every little act of kindness we do will be noticed by God, and will eventually bring to pass great and marvelous things. We can all experience the joy of missionary work by doing the little things everyday. God's plan is perfect. I love you all! 愛しています!


Elder Lamoreaux
日本神戸伝道部 西脇市 (Japan Kobe Mission- Nishiwaki City)

末日聖徒イエスキリスト教会 (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Yup. I gave myself a haircut! Looks decent right?

I found Doritos! Ebi mayo flavor! (Shrimp and Mayo) It was pretty good!