Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Monday, June 29, 2015

The week where I never was in my area..

Dear Everyone,

This week was a crazy week! So much traveling and so many kokans (companion exchanges). On Tuesday, I went to Amagasaki and went with Elder Bateman from my MTC district. It was so much fun! We went to Costco for lunch (check out the pictures).

It was such a good time to talk with him and do some missionary work. The MTC seems like it was just yesterday when talking with my MTC District. Thank you ベイ長老!(I know you are reading this haha) 'Twas fun! Then on Thursday, I went on Kokan with the Office Elders. We taught a service English Class and they took us out to lunch. After that, things happened and we ended up needing to go on another Kokan with Elders in Nishinomiya, a nearby area. So doing a three-way Kokan was really interesting.

This week, there isn't much to report on... Oh yeah, I am transferring to a place called Maizuru in the Fukuchiyama zone. I am going back to the smallest zone in the mission with the smallest branches! In this zone, there are four areas. When I worked in Nishiwaki, I have done kokans in two other areas. The only one I didn't get a chance to work in was Maizuru. So now, I can say I have been in every single area in Fukuchiyama zone. I am pretty excited to go back there. I have heard it is a very beautiful area. Sad to leave Kitarokko, but it will be an adventure.

Sorry for the short email. I will close with a scripture that I read recently, Mosiah 4:12 "And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true." So, if we follow the example of Jesus Christ by following the commandments, loving everyone, doing all the things we are supposed to, the Lord promises is amazing blessings; always rejoice, filled with the love of God, retain a remission of sins and grow in the knowledge of God. That's what I want. He promises these things to those who follow him. I think it is so amazing and a beautiful promise.
Well, have an amazing week! Love you all!

Elder Lamoreaux

Funny story. We came to the church and usually on this window, all 4
missionary's pictures are there. But, this time, only mine is
there..... Don't ask me why.. My theory is that some Jr. High school
girls (there is a Jr. High right next to the church) saw pictures of
Gaijin (foreigners) and wanted to take them, but left mine because I
wasn't attractive enough for them..... Sad me. Haha

Kobe District

Monday, June 22, 2015

"The Song of the Righteous is a Prayer unto Me"

Dear Everyone,

This was a pretty slow week. We weren't able to meet with any of our investigators this week because of various reasons; cancelations were many, empty houses/not answering the door was a plenty as well. That was a bummer, but we were able to do some finding and visit a few ward members. We love meeting with the members and bearing testimony about the restoration. There is always a special spirit that fills the room when discussions of the restoration is had among family.

A couple of days this week, I was on Kokan (companion exchange) with the Office Elders in Kobe. They are in our district and my companion is district leader. It was pretty cool to spend time in the mission office as a regular missionary. I now basically know the ins and outs of the mission office. We were able to do missionary work though. We rode the bikes through Kobe for about an hour and a half looking for a less active member's house. It was so nice biking there; all flat, no hills, Perfect weather and so beautiful. Kobe is a beautiful city. Busy, lots of people, but so beautiful. I was able to see the ocean! It was nice haha.

So this past week, I made a goal so that my thoughts could be more centered on my missionary purpose and on my savior. I watched something where Elder Bednar shared a story of how he controls his thoughts. He said that something that helps him is reciting a hymn in his mind throughout the day. He stated that in order for that to work, you have to know many different hymns because if you only have 1 or 2 hymns memorized, eventually those will have no filtering effect in your mind and your thoughts will wander so easily. He said he never has to use a hymn book because he has most of the hymns memorized. I decided I wanted to do that as well. I have this vision where I can one day have every hymn memorized so that I don't have to use a hymn book. I think that would be so cool! So in order to do that, I decided to have one hymn that I would focus on each day. So far, I have 6 different hymns now memorized (I started this past week). It has really helped me stay more focused and have the spirit with me throughout the day. I would like to testify about the power of the hymns. Songs are a great way to bring the spirit into your life. Like the scripture I have for my title today, D&C 25:12 "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." The hymns are powerful and they each have a powerful message to share. I love the hymns! I want them to be a big part of my life.

Here is a pretty cool story. On Saturday, the Elders Quorum of the ward had an activity planned where they would gather, do some service and play ping-pong. I was super excited for this activity because who doesn't like to play some ping pong? But, as my companion and I were figuring out what to do that day, we prayed about whether or not we should go to the activity. It was a good activity. If we would go, we could make good relationships with the ward and strengthen their testimony and desire for missionary work as well. So, as we were praying, in my head, I was pleading with Heavenly Father, "please say yes! I want to go to this activity! Please say yes!" And as the prayer kept going, I had this feeling that I didn't want to admit to myself which kind of said, "dang it, we aren't going to this activity." And so we ended up not going to it, despite my inner desires and justifications for going to the activity. As much as I didn't like that decision, I knew that it was right. So instead of going to ping-pong like we had originally planned, we found a couple more names in the area book that we would try to visit. As we were going, door after door, those people did not answer. I was getting frustrated. I wanted to play ping-pong, but I tried to follow the spirit and yet we still found nothing. However, as we were going to go back to our apartment to get ready for a member visit that night, we ran into someone that could possibly have interest. He is a college student and we were talking quite a bit on the street. He enjoys speaking English and since there is like no opportunity at all to speak English in Japan, he spoke to us for probably an hour and a half. It was great. However, he is a busy college student, so his free time is almost nonexistent. But we have his phone number, so that was good. If we had gone to the ping-pong, we probably wouldn't have had the chance to talk to this guy. I felt comforted that this was the reason that we were prompted to not go to the activity. As much as I didn't like to do it, God's will is always the way we should go. It might not be the most fun way, but in the end, it is the only way to go. Sometimes life isn't fair, but in the end, everything will be worth it. That was the cool story of the week.

So, that's it for this week. Next week is the transfer announcement. It will be Interesting. It is possible that I could be going anywhere or staying here. Really, I am expecting anything. I will update you next week! Have a great week everyone! Love you all!

Elder Lamoreaux

(Ra-Mu-Ro) ( a Nihonjin gave me that kanji name. It means silk, dream, dew. Interpret that how you may.)

Having dinner at a members house. Group selfies with the iPad is so
hard, I don't know how I like it...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hanging out with old ladies!

Here's a story for you. So one of our investigator's mom wanted us to meet her friends, so that day, she took us to a coffee bar. It looked a little sketchy, but we felt like it was fine, so we went in. It seems like it is the old lady hang out of the city. There were only old women in there. It was very weird. Eventually her friends showed up and they were talking to us; asking us where we were from, what we are doing, how many people in our family, things like that. They were super nice. Then, one of the friends got up and started calling someone. 
Didn't think anything about it. Then someone else showed up and we started talking about normal, introductory things. Then she started talking about stuff. Turns out that she is a leader in one of the big religions in Japan, Sokka Gakkai (SGI). Turns out they are all SGI. So they spent like 10 minutes showing us their magazines, telling us how good SGI is and how it relates to Mormons. We just smiled and nodded our heads the whole time. They were still really nice. We ended up leaving with two SGI magazines, some candy and little souvenirs. That was a really interesting and memorable experience. Hanging out in the Old Lady hangout with a bunch of SGI missionaries. Good times.

Investigators are still the same. We had to drop a couple because they wouldn't ever answer the phone, or in never home when we meet, and they drop us.  Various reasons, but the same result. The investigator who didn't pass his interview hasn't been answering us. Last time we talked to him was last week when he came to the conclusion that he didn't need baptism. He was reading the Jehovah's Witness bible and said he had received revelation saying if he believes in Jesus Christ, he doesn't need baptism. We then asked if he believed in the Restoration and Joseph Smith and the 
Priesthood and he believes and has a testimony of all of it. It is pretty interesting, but because of his testimony, he will soon come back to his senses and come back to church and strive harder to be baptized. I don't really have worries about him, but it will just take time.  We have a new investigator. A High School kid who is from China who can speak Chinese, Japanese and a little bit of English. He moved here with his mom and it seems like he doesn't have a strong father figure in his life, so we taught him about how God is our Heavenly Father. It worked really well. We showed a Mormon Message called "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father" and he couldn't stop smiling while watching it.  However, he is a High School student in Japan, so he is always busy with school, homework and club. But, we pray that he will be able to find time to meet us. Other than that, our investigators are he same as usual.  We have been meeting with more and more members recently. It has been great. We as a mission are making members a bigger part of our time.  We are working on what they call "Full Purpose Missionary" "すべての目的お果たす宣教師" The mission is helping us be focused on all 5 phases of missionary work; Finding, Teaching, Baptizing, Retaining and Rescuing. Missionaries tend to focus on the first three; find, teach and baptize, while forgetting about the retaining and rescuing. So, if we work more with the members, we can build their testimonies and they can help in the Finding, Teaching, Retaining and Rescuing. Then we can establish the church. I don't know how other missions in the world are, but for Japan, the members really need to up their testimony and their drive for missionary work, and by focusing more on the members, we can do that and the church will be established in Japan. It's going to be great! I love meeting with the members!  When we meet with the members, we try to help them have spiritual experiences. In order to do that, we are going to be testifying about the Restoration. So to prepare for that, I read the first 20 verses of Joseph Smith History. Every single time I read that I feel the Spirit confirm to me that all of this is true. Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. Through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ restored His true church and true gospel to the earth once more, the same as when Christ was on the earth. For me, my testimony of the restoration is so important. When I think of that, I remember why I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It reminds me that this is the only true church of God. I invite you, in order to find your testimony again, to read Joseph Smith-History 1:1-20. I promise that you will come to find that this church is true and you will remember why being a faithful member of the church is important.
Well, that's about it for this week. It's hot in Japan in the summer. Anyways, have a great week! The Lord is always on your side.
Elder Lamoreaux

My first attempt at making Sinigang! - my favorite Filipino dish

Monday, June 8, 2015

Every Member a Missionary 教会員のすべては宣教師です

Dear Everyone,

First off, I want to start with a quote given by President Brigham
Young. “There is neither man or woman in this Church who is not on a
mission. That mission will last as long as they live, and it is to do
good, to promote righteousness, to teach the principles of truth, and
to prevail upon themselves and everybody around them to live those
principles that they may obtain eternal life”.

So this week, we had an amazing Zone Training Meeting which talked
about the importance of us missionaries working with the ward members.
The thing that I relearned here was that the real missionaries in the
church are you, the church members. Theoretically speaking, the
members should be the ones doing the finding for the missionaries.
There are literally limitless opportunities that you can preach the
gospel in your everyday lives. There are so many scenarios that I
could try to describe. Imagine if you could invite your non member
friends to your house for dinner and they ask about the picture of the
temple that is hanging up in your living room, or they ask why you
live the way that you do. What are you going to do? Are you prepared
to answer? Are you living in a way that your friends would ask you
these things? You could answer their questions simply and then invite
them to dinner again another day and invite the missionaries as well!
Imagine how cool that would be? Now imagine if there were many
families in the ward that invites the missionaries to teach a friend.
The missionaries' planners will be filled with teaching appointments
and the people will be flowing into the church. This is the power that
could be achieved if we as members and missionaries work together.

I invite you all to think about how the gospel has blessed your life.
How have you felt the joy of the gospel recently? When have you felt
the joy of the gospel the most? How does it feel to have a sure
foundation in the gospel of Jesus Christ? Where would you be without
the gospel in your life? Think about how much hope you have because of
the gospel. It's amazing isn't it? These feelings and experiences with
the gospel is what your non member friends are looking for. They need
this gospel. I invite you to pray for missionary opportunities and do
the best you can to preach the gospel. You can do it! And I promise
that as you do, the Lord will bless you and you will remember how much
of a blessing Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and His gospel is in your
life. I know that is true.

Well that's this week! Have an amazing week and be a light to those around you!

Elder Lamoreaux

I got creative again.. I think it looks so cool!

Monday, June 1, 2015

忍耐 Patience: Truly a Christlike Attribute

Dear Everyone,

How is everyone doing? Summer is in the air, it's hot outside, the grills are firing up, it's a great time. I hope you all are enjoying the start of summer.

So summer in Japan... Where do I start... Well, let me tell you one thing.. It is hot. Not just burning hot, but it is humid and wet hot. It's gross. I have to carry around a rag wherever I go to wipe sweat that drips from me (gross I know. I hate it.) I'm hoping, however, that during these two summers I'm going to spend here I'll sweat enough that I will never have to sweat when I get back. Hopefully I'll be all sweated out by the time I leave. Sweating stinks...

But, one cool thing is that I am going to be so tan during this summer! I'll attach a picture of my watch tan line that I already have. It is crazy! There are also a lot of bugs and frogs around. Hopefully some time I'll get a chance to take a picture of all the rice fields that are being planted right now. It is pretty beautiful.

So this week for District Meeting, I was asked by my companion, the District Leader, to prepare a talk/training on "Patience." I learned a lot about patience; more than I thought I could learn about patience. Patience is directly related to faith. In PMG under patience, it says, "Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith--you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled." I thought that was a pretty good definition. Patience is complying to God's will rather than our own. Patience is even while going through trials, relying on God and trusting is his timing. A lot of times we want answers right away, we want things to follow our desire and our will. However, developing patience means that we completely turn away from "my will" and instead following "thy will". The best example of patience is that of our Savior. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, he completely fulfills his Father's will. He is suffering all the pains and sicknesses and sins of every single living creature! He is suffering for you and for me, he is suffering through unimaginable pain and yet he says "nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Patience is bearing trials with faith, hope and happiness. We could do well in following the example of Jesus Christ and exercising more patience.

So let's update my investigators, aka, the things I've been worrying about recently. So the investigator that is supposed to get baptized next week... He isn't gonna get baptized next week... We had the baptismal interview yesterday and the zone leaders decided that he needed to be more prepared in order to get baptized. So we have to postpone his baptism for about 2 or 3 weeks from now, which is a bummer. It's funny that I spent a couple days this week studying about patience, because I know and feel good about him not being able to get baptized right now. This is for the best and I trust that God knows all and that he knows what is best for my investigators, for me, and for all of you. So, now it's time to put my patience and faith to the test. I think I can wait a couple weeks. I'm just a little worried about my investigator. It was us and the ward mission leader's fault, but before the interview, the ward announced his baptism for the next week, we filled out his baptismal record and we did a whole walk through of the program and baptismal service. So, now all the members are going to be asking him about his baptism that isn't going to happen yet and things like that. I hope and pray that he can be comforted and not be discouraged and that he too can have patience. However, I am pretty confident that he can handle it. He is a man. Like the talk by Elder Christofferson called "Let Us Be Men", our investigator is a man. He will be able to overcome this attack from Satan. He will be baptized this month I am pretty sure.

Our friend who almost committed suicide a couple weeks ago is doing great! He is really progressing now. He began reading the Book of Mormon for the start  a week and a half ago. When we talked to him on Saturday, he is on page 620! Wow that is insane progress! We were so surprised. When we asked him what he learned from it, he gave a good testimony of Jesus Christ; how he never committed any sin, never did anything wrong, was perfect, and yet he chose to suffer and die for each of us. It was a great testimony coming from him. I was stunned. It truly strengthened my testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and it truly does what it says it does; testifies of Jesus Christ. Anyone can change just by reading it and abiding by its teachings. It is starting to change this man who has been and done just about every bad thing in the world. It is changing our other investigator. It is changing me. I know that it is true. If you need any guidance in life at all, if you want to change your life for the better, I have one piece of advice. Read the Book of Mormon. I know that is true.

In closing for this week, I want to share a poem that I found while studying for patience. It has helped me understand more and become more at peace with myself. It was originally quoted in conference by President Ezra Taft Benson. It is called "Prayer" by Eliza M. Hickok.

"I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His Word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered, soon or late.
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought;
But leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blest."

I know that is true and that by relying on the Lord's timing, all will work out. All things are done for your benefit. Sometimes, things don't go the way you want, but God knows what is best for you and he will bless you far greater than you could think. He loves you and He is your Father in Heaven. I testify that these are true. Have a great week everybody!

Elder Lamoreaux

I'm getting much better at these paper cranes I think.