Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Process called Repentance

Dear Everyone,

This week, we had Zone Conference in Fukuchiyama! Let me tell you about it!

I realized that I have been to every single Fukuchiyama zone conference for the past year. We have Zone Conference once every 2 transfers and I have been in is zone for 7 of my 9 transfers. The really interesting part is, when I was in Kobe zone, the zone conference was combined with the Fukuchiyama zone. So, when I realized that, I told Sister Welch and then she told President Welch who then told me, "really? Well, you better get your suitcases ready" and then walked away! It was pretty funny, but we'll see what happens next week when the transfer announcements come.

Fukuchiyama Zone Conference! We are a small zone, but I love us.
Anyway, with zone conference, we talked a lot about the Doctrine of Christ, which is a focus in our mission right now. It's amazing to me how the Doctrine of Christ is found everywhere. Absolutely anything can be tied to the Doctrine of Christ. Truly, as we see the world through the lens of the Doctrine, we can live happier lives, we can be better people, and we can be more prepared to face challenges and hardships in life. We talked a bit about this and I learned and relearned a lot. But, the coolest thing that we talked about was repentance. Repentance is not a list of steps that we can check off and say that we repented. Repentance is a process that takes a lot of time. Through repentance, we can be changed into a new person. President Welch told us about when President Russell M. Nelson was training mission presidents. President Nelson studied the Greek word for repentance and it literally meant "Changing your air". Repentance can  change the way you act, the way you speak, even the air you breath. Through the process of repentance, you are changed into the being that you are destined to become. That doesn't mean that it will be easy. Change is hard, but with help from Jesus Christ and the enabling power of the Atonement, we can do it. President Welch also shared a story of when President Spencer W. Kimball said that he needed to repent. If the prophet of the Lord still says he needs to repent every day, how much more need have we to repent everyday? Another example of that is Nephi in 
2 Nephi 4 where he laments about all of the sins that he has. Thinking of those examples, I have wondered, "these are prophets! What sins could they have committed?" But now, I realize that repentance isn't something where if you do something bad, you repent and the bad goes away. It's not like that at all. We all struggle with different problems. Why? Because we are in a fallen state. We all struggle with "overcoming the natural man." Because we are fallen, we need constant repentance in order for us to change from this fallen state, into a worthy, celestial being. Therefore, repentance is much more than saying sorry or confessing your sins. It is much more than a check list of repentance steps. It is our constant process of changing and overcoming the natural man. Because we are mortal, even our prophets have a need to repent.

I went on a little rant about that, but I hope you understand at least a little bit of what I'm trying to come across. So, zone conference was great and it helped me get a nice perspective on Repentance and the Doctrine of Christ. Throughout my mission, I have learned more and more about repentance and the power that can come through the atonement of Christ. I am so grateful for my Savior who makes it possible for us to repent and change. No matter what you have done in the past, Heavenly Father loves you and wants to help you, if you but come into him. I am still in the process of repenting myself, and I am grateful for this mission and helping me to realize it.

So, in closing, I will share that scripture in Mosiah which I referenced in the above paragraph. Mosiah 3:19 (come on Scripture Mastery masters!) "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

This church is true! I know that without a doubt! I know that through the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, we can be changed, we can overcome the natural man, and we will receive all that Heavenly Father has. Have a great week everyone!

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部

This is a family from Nishiwaki that came to visit Maizuru Branch!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Revelation is real!

Dear Everyone,

I want to share a really cool experience that I had this past week. So we have an investigator who has been investigating for a couple years now. Right now, he is the one who is progressing the most out of all of our investigators. Last week, we had a lesson with him and we planned on inviting him to be baptized next month. We had the Branch President and his wife there sitting in on the lesson. We talked about baptism and asked him questions, but he would always give vague answers to the questions, for example, we ask him, "why is it important to pray?" And he says, "so we can return to God", really superficial answers and when we try to have him expound, he doesn't do anything. So, we get him to kind of commit to a baptismal date and the lesson was over. We talked with our BP and his wife about the investigator. He clearly has some kind of problem that is out of his control which he can't retain information or recall it. We all were wondering if he is even mentally capable to even need baptism. So after talking about it, we came to the conclusion that we would pray about it, ask our mission president for advice and see what happens.

The next day, I emailed President Welch and told him the whole situation and he replied with words of advice such as "can he reach the qualifications for baptism as stated in D&C 20:37 or is that a challenge for him?" So, I was thinking of that for a while, not completely sure what to do. Can he be baptized, or does he even need baptism? Is he saved already? Questions I was pondering that day trying to figure out what to do.

The next morning, I was having a hard time sleeping. I remember that it was around 5:30 in the morning and I was about 75% asleep when a number started wandering around in my head. The number 8 was just lingering there for some reason. And then I remember 22 as well. 8:22.. Then after a bit of trying to sleep some more, for some reason I randomly thought of the book of Moroni. So in my mostly asleep state, a scripture reference popped in my head, Moroni 8:22. At the time, I had no idea what that scripture was or even if it existed at all. I turned over in my futon (we don't have beds in Japan) and wrote the reference down in my little notebook that I have next to me and went back to sleep. I woke up half an hour later, went to the bathroom and then remembered that scripture, so I opened to it. I almost had a heart attack when I read it. The scripture exists and it blew my mind.

It says "For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing" Well, if that wasn't an answer, I don't know what is! That was by far the most direct answer to anything that I have ever received in my life. I learned that our investigator is one who is "without the law" and because of that, he is redeemed by the atonement, and thus does not need baptism. The answer was clear as day. I was amazed by that and I know now that Heavenly Father is truly right here beside me looking out for me. This is his work and I know that he is mindful of each of his children. One of the coolest experiences of my mission.

I've said this before, but our mission is striving to teach at least 20 lessons a week per companionship. So, our district has been working hard the past few weeks to reach that. I am proud to announce that after much work and a few miracles, each companionship in my district reached the 20 lesson mark this week! All 3 companionships did it and I am so proud for all of this district! It was so great to hear that it happened. God truly answers our efforts. Not only answers, but He always goes beyond that. Our district experienced that reality this week.

It was a great week! Lots of miracles, lots of cool experiences. It's hard to believe that this week is my 1 year in Japan mark. I've come a long way and hopefully I have changed a little since then. Cheers to 10 more months as a full-time missionary.

Love you all! My ponderizing scripture of the week is 1 Nephi 10:19. Have a great week! Thank you for all the support and prayers in my behalf. Love you!

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部

"Chastity" yesssss!

Monday, October 12, 2015

General Conference

Dear Everyone,

We were finally able to watch conference this week! It was such a great conference and I learned a lot. But first, I'll share a bit of a cool experience this week.

We were looking around for a potential investigator's house, but we could not find the address at all. We were in the middle of nowhere, houses all around us, but we couldn't find the one place we needed to find. But, as we were searching, we decided to stop at a house and knock on it. The person who answered was really nice; young mother of 2 really cute kids. One was 3 and the other was 1. We were able to talk to her and it turns out she used to go to a Christian Church and since she got married and moved, she hasn't gone to it. She remembers some things about Christ and about singing gospel songs. So, we were able to relate to her a lot. She seemed super interested and we set up a return appointment. She also said she would talk to her husband about us and what we do. So, later in the week, we called them to follow up and she said that she talked to her husband and said that the husband wasn't interested, so she canceled the return appointment. We tried to see if we can talk to the husband, but it didn't work out. It was pretty frustrating that that had to happen, but, like Sister Marriot said in conference, "It will all work out." She seemed like she was ready, but one day, it will be all good.

So many fish!
So, I really liked this conference. It's funny how each conference, there is like an overwhelming theme. Last conference, it was Families and Marriage. This conference, I felt like the theme was just living the Doctrine of Christ more fully in your life. It is really interesting because right now as a mission, we are challenged to read the Book of Mormon and look for the Doctrine of Christ as we read. I thought it was awesome how things just always seem to relate. The conference started with President Uchtdorf talking about how living the gospel should be simple. There was a lot about defending your faith and developing stronger faith. There was also a lot about repentance and changing into someone better through the Atonement. Much about the Sacrament and keeping all of the Commandments. Also, a great talk given by President Eyring about Receiving the Holy Ghost. And, of course, a lot about enduring to the end by living the gospel every day. A couple of my favorite talks were of course Elder Holland's "Behold Thy Mother", Elder Lawrence's " What Lack I Yet?", a question that we all need to ask, and Elder Hales' talk. I also really liked Elder Renlund's talk! Those were my favorite, but really, all of them had a great message and can help me in my life and my mission. I'll be studying these talks more thoroughly.

A couple awesome quotes from conference:

"Exaltation is our goal; discipleship is our journey" -President Uchtdorf
"Focusing on how the Lord inspires His chosen leaders and how He moves the Saints to do remarkable and extraordinary things despite their humanity is one way that we hold on to the gospel of Jesus Christ and stay safely aboard the Old Ship Zion." -Elder Ballard
"If you want more than you now have, reach up, not across!" -Elder Hales
"No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child" -Elder Holland
"having descended beneath it all, He is perfectly positioned to lift us and give us the strength we need to endure our afflictions. We have only to ask." -Elder Oaks

It was a great conference! But, it was really hard to see President Monson struggling like that in his talk on Sunday... I learned a lot. There was a lot of love for Japan there as well! Elder Yamashita saying a prayer, Elder Aoyagi giving a talk (he shouted out the Japan Kobe Mission!) and also Elder Aoba being mentioned by Elder Maynes. I met Elder Aoba when I was in Nishiwaki! It was so cool to see his picture in conference and hear that story. Go Japan!

So, the scripture I am "ponderizing" this week is Alma 38:5 which says "And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day." I like that because God will always deliver us if we put our trust in Him.

I love you all! I hope you have a great week! Remember what you learned in conference and look over the talks again! They will help you!

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部

So yesterday, we watched General Conference!  But, as I walked into the room where we were watching, I saw somebody who looked really familiar, and I was like, "there's no way!"  It was a recent convert in my first area, Nishiwaki, who I worked with all the time in Nishiwaki!  Apparently, she heard from a member that I was in Maizuru, and she wanted to come see me.  They drove all the way up to Maizuru just to see me!  I was so surprised and speechless.  They left Nishiwaki at 7:00 in the morning.  It was such a pleasant surpise.


Such a cool sunset!

Monday, October 5, 2015

"I like to look for rainbows!" 🎵🌈

Sweater weather!
Dear Everyone,

What a week. Definitely the busiest (and best) week of my mission so far. Our wonderful Filipina Investigator was baptized by her husband yesterday!!! It was honestly the happiest moment of my mission! Let me explain the details.

So, on Wednesday, she had her baptismal interview. I was pretty nervous the whole time she was in the interview, but she came out and I saw the thumbs up saying she passed. That was a really relieving moment, but I knew she would pass, so I don't know why I was so nervous haha! So, after that, came the craziness of the week. Thursday we put together the baptismal service with our Ward mission leader. Then on Saturday, we met with the Branch President and blew up the baptismal font. Yup, blew up the font with a foot pump! Gotta love the small branches! The font is actually approved by the navy and is used as a bath tub (except we use it as a baptismal font.) Pictures are included. :) Then Sunday morning before church was the service. In between all this, I had to prepare for District Meeting on Friday, Follow-Up with my district members, call a bunch of people to invite them to the baptism and, figure out a talk that I was to give at the service. Busy, busy, busy! I would basically be on the phone at night from 9:30 all the way until 10:15 and then bed time at 10:30. So, you could say I am exhausted. 

Pump, pump, pump.

It's up!

Filling it up

The finished product! :)
But all of that was so worth it because the baptism was perfect. It was just so special to see this family dressed in white with a font filled with water. I can't really describe the feelings I felt. Our investigator was smiling and crying throughout the whole service. I probably said this before, but her husband is Japanese and he was baptized in January. Their only daughter got baptized in March, as soon as she turned 8, and now her mom is finally getting baptized in October, so the whole family, especially the daughter, was just so happy. I gave a talk about baptism and the Holy Ghost and I felt like it went really well. It felt good because I just went up there with maybe a note or two and scriptures. When i had a scripture to read, I read it in Tagalog for our investigator. Everyone was pretty impressed by it, but I know my pronunciation was horrible... But, she understood so that's all that matters. I was actually tearing up during that talk, which I never do, (except for my farewell, when I cried like a baby... Still sorry about that..) After my talk, their 8 year old daughter gave a nice little talk about baptism, how happy she was that her mom was finally going to make that step. After that, Elder McArthur and I sang "I like to look for rainbows" in Japanese and English. Then the baptism happened, and it went perfectly, even though the water was freezing cold. The whole program flowed perfectly and there was a beautiful spirit that was felt by everyone present.

Also, another busy and nerve wracking thing was on Saturday, our Branch President called and asked if I would confirm her during Sacrament. I was taken aback, but I said I would do it. Then he said this, "could you do it in Tagalog? It would be great for her to hear it in her native language." I kinda laughed at that, thinking he was joking, but he was completely serious. I thought about it and came up with a conclusion that I would try to do the "important words" in Tagalog and the rest of the blessing in English, and he said that will work. So, the whole day, I was trying to memorize how to confirm her in Tagalog. I could not mess up, because if I did, then the ordinance wouldn't work. So, I tried my hardest to do it and say it correctly. I give this one up to the Spirit and the gift of tongues because somehow during the confirmation, I was able to remember the words and confirm her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Tagalog. Man, do I wish I actually tried to speak Tagalog when I was younger. But, nonetheless, it worked out and the Spirit was there to guide my words during that blessing. It was insane, to say the least.

The feelings that I felt yesterday were so special and I hope I don't forget that. I was smiling the whole day and it just felt good. I am so happy that this family can now be unified and next year, become sealed in the temple for time and for all eternity. I am so excited for them. This family is so special and they just looked so happy. Happy is he only word that can describe this experience. That night, they invited us over to their house and they fed us more Filipino food (Lumpia and fried chicken) and we were able to fill out the baptismal record to make her an official member of "Ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw". Such a beautiful day. 

Trying to get a good picture... I love this family so, so much!
Another reason that this was a really busy week was that even with all of this baptism prep going on, we were still able to teach 21 lessons this week!! We finally made the goal! The members helped a lot. We were able to teach most of the active members a lesson as well as a few less active members. It was a stretch and in the coming weeks, I feel like it will be even harder to hit the 20 lesson mark. I learned that in order to do that, we need to work hard every hour of the day and plan what we are going to do.

So, it was a great week. I am so exhausted, but I think it was worth it. To see this person come closer to Christ by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost was something that I will never forget. I am so blessed to be able to work with them and to see the changes come across this incredible family. Whenever I come into their house, I can just feel their love. I was so blessed to be able to witness this. This was my week in a nutshell. I hope you take a look at the pictures that I will send. I love you all and I hope you have a great week. Remember to keep smiling and give 'em Heaven folks!

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部