Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Monday, July 27, 2015

The week of trains again...

On the way back to Toyooka, we rode the "special train" that runs across the ocean.  The train would stop at good views so that people can take pictures of the view.  One time, we were crossing right over the river that leads to the sea and it stopped right in the middle of it.  It was beautiful ride.

Dear Everyone,
So it feels like most of my week was spent on trains. We had to go to Toyooka three times this week for 1) a baptismal interview for one of their investigators, 2) a Kokan (companion exchange) and 3) district meeting. It takes a two hour train ride to get there one way. It was pretty crazy, but because of that, my companion and I have been able to get into some deep conversations. It's been good! So we've had a couple cool experiences regarding our investigators. I was on Kokan when this happened so I don't know the full details, but they visited one of our investigators while on Kokan. She wasn't home, but her 15 year old son answered the door, so they began teaching him. Apparently he has a ton of interest! The cool thing about that was last week, trying to visit the same person, her 17 year old daughter answered and she has some interest too. So hopefully now we can be able to teach their whole family the gospel. They have great potential and hopefully they will come to fully accept the gospel into their lives. 
Next cool story. We wanted to help our investigator with the Recent Convert family this week, but we were unable to set up an appointment with them. So, we decided to make a cake and deliver it to them on Saturday night because they work hard and we wanted to show them love. So we made the cake in the rice cooker (had no idea that was possible!) and then delivered it. They were surprised and they let us in and we all ate the cake. We talked for a good hour and a half. Before we left, we shared a quick message about happiness and shared Mosiah 2:41. It is a promise by Heavenly Father that if you are faithful to the commandments and to the gospel, you will be blessed with happiness, even never-ending happiness. It went so well, the Spirit was so strong in that room. After we read the scripture, our investigator started sharing her testimony about how the church has truly blessed her family. She said she noticed a big change in their happiness and she also recognizes that Heavenly Father answers her prayers. That was a really powerful moment for me to witness her bare her testimony of the gospel. Then after that, her husband started testifying about the scripture and then their angel of a daughter testified as well. It was so great. Then the husband said something like, "I think you should get in the pool (baptism). How about August?" After a bit of a pause, she kind of turned the subject from baptism by saying that work was busy and what not, but she wants to get baptized. Then later we found out through our Branch President that she said she wanted to get baptized before Elder Brown goes home (in 3 weeks). We haven't set up a date with her yet, but we are meeting today, so we will try to get it all set up and ready to go. This is so exciting! This had nothing to do with us missionaries at all. All we did was share a scripture and the family took over the rest. I have a strong belief that almost nothing that happens to these people we teach are because of the missionaries. It is all on the power and influence of the Lord. The Lord prepares these people to hear the good news and the Lord works with them through the Spirit and through the missionaries. Nothing I do really has a big impact on an investigator. Only through their experiences with the spirit is conversion and change possible. I know that this is the Lord's work. He is in control. I know that as long as we put our trust in him, everything will work out. I know that because I know he lives and I know he loves us more than we could even imagine. I know that God's love is there for absolutely everyone. I am so excited and so happy to be an instrument and to be able to see the Lord work in the lives of these amazing Japanese people. 
I will end with a quote given by President Ucthdorf. "Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount--that is the measure of God’s love for you." I know that is true. We can't comprehend it at all, but I trust that it is true. I love you all! Keep up the good work and I pray that all of us can grow our testimonies and extend our knowledge this beautiful gospel.
Elder Lamoreaux

Oh Japan is so green in the summer!  This is on the train to Toyooka for a companion exchange.  These are a bunch of rice fields and it is so cool to see the wind rush through the tall grass.  They are everywhere in the small towns of Japan.

Oh Elder Childs, beloved zone leader taking a selfie on my iPad.  Now it's on the Internet!

Look at that sunset!! Japan sunsets can't be beat!

This is what we had for Pioneer Day.  We made burgers!  It was pretty good!  Happy 24th everyone!

Man what a good day!  So beautiful.  This is another one of the Matsuris in Japan.  So many people, so hot, so cool,  Again, so many shops and booths and people, but it was on Sunday, so we didn't get anything except for pictures haha.  It was fun.

The big Matsuri had a fireworks show at the end of it and we were invited to a BBQ at one of our friend's house to watch the fireworks.  It was pretty interesting, the BBQ was just a bunch of small meat put on a grill, so we didn't eat very much, but it tasted pretty good.  And the fireworks weren't as organized like American firework shows are.  Like there were spurts of good fireworks for about 30 seconds and then like a 5 minute break, then a couple normal fireworks go off, then a break again.  It lasted about an hour like that, so it wasn't the best firework show I've seen, but it was the first time (and probably last time) I have seen fireworks in Japan.  Cool experience.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Another week in Maizuru!

Summer Matsuri! (Festival)

So many people!  This is Matsuri.  They have mini shops and festival games and food stands all lined up in front of the Japanese shrine.  It was pretty fun to go there.

Some of the kids were amazed by my iPad...

Filipino Night 

Pig eats for Sisig :) 

Yummy!!  Reminded me of home!

This is what the Japanese people depict as the Judgement. The guy at the desk is supposedly Jesus Christ or the one who judges. The mirror on the bottom left replays your works in this life. The good people go up to the peaceful place and the bad people are punished. Very similar to the interpretation in Dante's Inferno where people are punished according to the specific sins that they would commit. Pretty interesting.

 Amanohashidatte! 天橋立

This place is so beautiful and pretty famous as well.  Search
"Ama no Hashidatte" on Google and I think you can see what it is better than I can explain it.

Ama no Hashidatte is a 4 kilometer land bridge which connects two peninsulas together.  It is so beautiful and we were able to go on a perfect day.

My favorite.  Man riding a Turtle

Surprise!  We are riding a lift up to a view point where you can see a great view of Amanohashidatte. 

At the top of the view point.
We walked all the way across.  It is so cool!

Here is our Branch President who so kindly took us here this morning.

Living the missionary life!  Solo.............. :( 

This is a very famous pose to do in this place. Look at the view between your legs. Don't ask me why...
Here is a sign that explains!

You can take a cable car instead of the lift.
 The down trip!

Now we are taking the boat back!!

Seagull selfie

It feels like I am flying with the birds!  The seagulls are very hungry so they follow the boat and everyone throws bread and crackers at them and they catch it!  It is so fun and they are right in front of you.  I could've easily touched one.  Awesome!!

Dear Everyone,

So I basically talked about all the things that happened this week in my pictures... Other than those things, there isn't much else to talk about haha. The Filipino food activity was so awesome! The food reminded me of home and everyone who came loved it as well. Also, today is a holiday in Japan, so our branch president took us to a famous place in our area called Ama no Hashidatte. It was super awesome with surprise lift rides and a boat ride. Check out the pictures that I sent.

So I will share something from my studies this week. I read an article in the Liahona that talked about the need for enduring to the end, especially when you have hard trials. It took me to D&C 121, 122 and 123, where Joseph Smith has been in prison for a few months and he prays to Heavenly Father asking why. Why did he have to suffer like this, why did all these hard things have to happen to his people, the righteous followers of Christ. This is what the Lord says to him in 121:7-8 "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." Then he elaborates in 122:6-9. The Lord talks about all these horrible, extremely hard things that could happen in life and then says "know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" Then he promises this in 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." We are given trials for a reason. God knows us each so much. He knows are weaknesses, our strengths, our joys and our sorrows. He also knows what we can potentially become. Because of that, we experience trials and hardships. Only through overcoming those trials can we become who God wants us to become. Trials give us experiences that will help us later on in life. We need to always see the bigger picture and remember that we are destined to inherit all that God hath. Again, that is the beauty of the Gospel; getting up every time we fall. God is walking with us each step of the way. Sometimes, he is carrying us. Trust him in all things, even or especially in trials, and all will work out for your good. I know that is true.

Love you all! Sorry for the short email. Look for the pictures I send. Have an amazing week!

Elder Lamoreaux