Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tahitian Dancing, Elder Choi Conference and Elevated thinking.

Dear Everyone,

Wow, what a week. Lots happened and it was a great week. Let's just go down the list then.

Tuesday, we were invited to perform a Tahitian Dance for patients in a hospital. That was super fun! Thanks to Chapman Shimai for being Tahitian and knowing how to dance. Check out the pictures and videos for more on that. It was a really fun service and the members who were involved were grateful that we did that.

On Thursday, we were invited to watch the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast for all of the missionaries in the world. It was the first time the church has done something like this for 10 years, so I thought something big was happening. Well, nothing too big happened, but we were able to be trained by the Missionary Executive Committee about how to be better missionaries. They talked a lot about how we are representatives of Jesus Christ, so we should always "Have Your testimony of Christ on your lips." Always be prepared to testify of Christ to everyone you meet and in every lesson you teach. We were also taught about the importance of the Spirit in all we do as missionaries. The main thing that they relayed to us is a phrase that I love now. "We teach repentance and baptize true converts." That is what we do as missionaries. Everyone needs to repent and we as missionaries are constantly repenting ourselves and helping others to repent. It was a great opportunity to hear from our Church Leaders. 

I will be bold and say that Friday, the whole course of my mission has changed. We were blessed to have Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the Asia North Area Presidency here to talk to us. He is a bold man. We talked about many, many things and he basically called us all to repentance. The interesting thing was though that he did it all with incredible love. I felt no resentment and no negative feelings, only love and a desire to repent and do better. 

We talked about elevating our thoughts. He basically said that the reason people don't succeed is because of their thoughts. If our thoughts aren't high enough, then we will never get to where we want to be. He related that to our baptism numbers. Recently, our baptism numbers haven't improved. So, he posed a question. "How many of you put a 1 in number of baptism goal this week?" Nobody rose their hand. He said, "There you go guys, that's why you aren't baptizing." He then talked about how if we don't think we can baptize, then we won't. But, if we think we will baptize, then we will. Then he asked President Welch what he thought about this. He said "you know, I think our baptism goal of 1 per month (as a companionship) is not what the Lord wants us to do. I think it's too low." Elder Choi nodded and said, "yup, that's right." Then he said how he knows that we can do better than 1 baptism per month. So, we raised the baptism goal to 1 BAPTISM PER WEEK. (Per companionship). Woah! When that happened, I felt a confirmation that that said, yes, we can do it. I know that this is what the Lord wants for the Japan Kobe Mission right now. I don't know how it will happen, but miracles will happen and God's power is going to show here in this land. It all starts with positive thinking and faith. One thing that Elder Choi said was how we can change our destiny. It goes like this: Thoughts-->Actions-->Habits-->Character-->Destiny. Our thoughts lead to our destiny. Our destiny is to become like Jesus Christ, for he said "what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (3 Nephi 27:27) if our thoughts are centered on Christ, we will one day be like him. Perfected. Free from the natural man.

This goal is pretty crazy to be honest. I don't even know if missionaries in Mexico get one baptism a week. But, I have a testimony that the Lord is hastening his work all throughout the world. He is preparing people to hear the gospel and the work is rolling forth. I am beyond excited to see the church grow here in Japan. It starts now. It starts with me. It starts with each individual missionary and the way they view missionary work. Don't fear. Don't be shy. Have faith. It will happen. I know that it will and I will do everything I can to make it work. We cannot do it on our own though. We need all the help we can get. We always have the Lord's help if we are worthy for it. We also need the help of each member. We are all part of this great work. 

Yesterday, we had ward council and I told them boldly about the goals that the Lord has set for this mission. I testified how I know that this will happen because this is the Lord's work and his desire for Japan. It felt really good to be the instrument for Him during this ward council. I promised them that I will work hard to accomplish this goal and asked for their help. 

I only have 7 months left on this mission. I will do all I can to accomplish what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I testify that the work that all 80,000 or so missionaries are doing is being guided and lead by God himself. I know that Jesus Christ is at the helm and that he is guiding his sheep to the missionaries. I am so proud and so happy to be on a mission. It's hard, it's exhausting both physically and mentally, but I know it is worth it. I know that the leaders of our church are called by God and they are the instruments of God. Everything they do is what He wants to have happen in this world. He lives. Faith is a principle of action and power. If you act on faith, always having God in your thoughts, you will always be happy. No matter what your circumstances are, seek the will of God, and all will be right. Trust him.

Have a great week everyone! I am so grateful for all of your love and support. 宜しくお願いします。
愛しています!

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


 

Yup, that's right.  Sister Chapman is from Tahiti and she is really good at Tahitian dancing.  Because of that, a member wanted us to perform a Tahitian Dance for the patients in her husband's hospital.  (The same place that we did Santa for.)  Those of you who know me know I cant's dance.  But, I tried and it was really fun.  Made a lot of mistakes, but they were all old, so they didn't care too much about the mistakes.  One of those experiences I won't forget anytime soon.

video
Happy Birthday Omisaki Shimai!

Visiting a member on a companionship exchange.  They fed us Tempura Udon.

Visiting another member that same day.  The son is preparing to get baptized and we were invited to teach him about Tithing and Fasting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Good week!

Dear Everyone,

How is everyone doing? First off, thanks for all the birthday wishes! I really appreciated them and it helped me to have a good birthday. For my birthday, we had District Meeting where we talked about how to better use "Preach My Gospel" and also about the importance of extending strong commitments. It turned out being really good. I love doing district meetings because when I study for it, I learn so much and then when we have the district together, all of them putting something into it, I learn even more. I've said it before, but the Spirit is so cool. Whatever happens during the meeting, everything connects. Sometimes in my preparations, I have a few ideas, but don't know how to connect them. And then, somehow, during the meeting, it all flows well. It's awesome. Since being district leader, I've gotten much more confident with speaking in front of people and testifying about the gospel. After the meeting, we went to the all you can eat Yakiniku place (a place with raw meat and a grill in the middle of the table where you cook the meat yourself.) The district made a fun birthday card for me. It was a fun birthday. That night, we taught a Less-Active couple about prayer and I felt it went really well. I think their hearts are starting to change a little bit. The guy likes Football! And his favorite team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.... (Of all teams???) It was a nice birthday. It is so weird to say I'm 20, but it is what it is. I feel so old now..... (I can imagine what you feel parents ;))

This week, we had interviews with President Welch where we talked about what we have been learning in our "4 Gospels" challenge. I love being in the Japan Kobe Mission, definitely one of the best missions out there. This mission is led by the Lord through President Welch. We had a good discussion about how Jesus Christ is the perfect missionary. One thing that I've noticed about Jesus Christ is that he did not ever care about his Physical desires or the desires of the natural man. I really want to be like that because I feel like I fall so easily to temptations and natural desires. Another thing that I learned from President Welch is that learning never stops. He is doing the challenge along with us and he said to me that 30 years after being a missionary, he still learns how he can be better. I look at his example and have hope that it's okay if I'm not perfect right now. Accept it and learn every day. Interviews and this challenge were great opportunities for me.

The coolest thing that happened last week was Sunday. An eight year old girl from a part member family that the sisters were working with got baptized! And for some reason, the little girl wanted me to baptize her! So, I performed my first baptism in Japan yesterday. It was so cool and such a special opportunity. I felt really grateful (and still pretty shocked) that she wanted me to perform the baptism for her special day. (BTW, this is the same part-member family whose dog room we helped clean.) It was a special day!



Things are going well here. I have been working hard at being more bold. I've found that sometimes things do not happen unless you are bold. Jesus Christ was the perfect example of being lovingly bold. I am trying to find ways to apply that into my daily missionary work. It's hard, it's out of my comfort zone, but it is already helping. Kind of makes me feel like a real missionary haha.

Well, I love you all. I hope you have an amazing week and that you are all gaining a stronger testimony every day. 愛 ています!

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


 



 District P-Day in Kyoto!  A member took us and we went all throughout Kyoto last Monday.  It was a lot of fun and we got to see a lot of Japanese culture.  We went to various places like Kinkakau Ji (the Golden Pavilion) and Heian Jingu and other places that I can't remember right now.


That is squid on a skewer.  So good!

A bunch of missionaries with President Welch and a member from our ward at interviews.

We went to a member's house and they fed us this.  It is raw Octopus, tuna, squid, and other fish that I can't remember over sushi rice.  It was so good!! I could probably only eat this in Japan.  Y'all might think this is gross (like my companion) but holy cow I'm gonna miss this stuff when I go home.

Today, we went to the Pokemon center!  It wasn;t as cool as I thought it would be.  Basically just a big Pokemon store, but it was cool nonetheless.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Early and fast email again... Going to Kyoto!

Dear Everyone,

So, last week was a fast email and I am afraid that this week is also a fast email... A member is taking us to Kyoto today and I don't know if we will have time afterwards to email. But, I will go as fast as my fingers will take me to recap what I've learned the past couple of weeks!

I've learned quite a bit about the importance and power of faith. We have an investigator who struggles to have faith; to believe in something that he can't see. He sees our faith and wonders how it is possible to believe in a God that we can't see and to believe in a God who allows bad things to happen to innocent people and allows bad people to have money and power. We try to help him see the eternal perspective, how God loves us and only desires our happiness and salvation, but he just can't seem to wrap his mind around it. The thing with that is though, Faith makes 0 sense. Having faith is crazy! We have never seen God or Jesus Christ, but yet we know they live and we know their purposes. Why? Because we act on the faith we have. Faith is not just belief, it is action. We act on our faith by praying and reading the scriptures and following the commandments. Think of commandments. You can't do this, and you can't do that and you need to do this and so on, so forth. Sometimes, we don't know the reasons why we are given some commandments, but we follow them. Why? Because we have faith that it will be for our eternal benefit. I realized how blessed I have been in my life to have the gospel. I have never had to wonder why bad things happen, or who God is, if he even exists. I know that he lives and that he loves us. But I, like Nephi, do not know the meaning of all things. This investigator pounds us with questions about the world and about why things happen, and all I can say is "I don't know. But a God knows and I trust him". Faith just makes everything easier. But not just faith. Our faith needs to be centered on Jesus Christ and his atonement. Because of Jesus Christ, we can have hope that all will be well.

My ponderizing scripture a couple weeks ago was Matthew 17:20 "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." I testify that is true. Faith is so powerful and it has blessed my life forever. Everyone needs faith in order to make it through this life happily.

Another thing that I experienced this week is the power of the Book of Mormon. Every night, we have been reading the Book of Mormon with another investigator, because he has a hard time doing it by himself. During those phone calls, the spirit is strong as we read and discuss the word of God. The power of the Book of Mormon is real. It teaches personally and helps our understanding. For example, we read 1 Nephi 1 with him over the phone and after we finished the chapter, I asked, "what do you think?" And he gave me a brief summary of what happened. Then I asked "no, what do you feel?" And he paused for a second and then said "if you follow God and believe in God, you will be happy." When he said that, it was hard not to jump for joy. He was definitely feeling the Spirit there. Nowhere in that chapter does it say anything like that, but he was able to learn for himself what he needed to learn. The Book of Mormon teaches personally and not always by what is written, but what is felt while reading. That was a great experience and now he wants to get baptized some day. (By the way, this is the same investigator that two weeks ago was begging for food from us. Man, has he changed since then.) the church is true folks.

Well, that basically sums up the important stuff from the past couple weeks. Things are looking up in this area and I am grateful to be here. The church is true, the Gospel is real and if you understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you will be safe and happy. Have a great week!

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


 We went to the "Abeno Harukas" which I think is the tallest building in Japan, but don't hate me for getting that wrong it is isn't.  We went as a district with on of the Sister's investigators.
The district at the top floor

Some cool views of OSAKA





 Fun with the glass floor

Courtesy of Elder Brailsford.  Our album cover :)

Taught these guys a lesson!  They are cool.

Osaka Zone!  After Zone Training Meeting.


Going to Sushi with a member



Japanese tradition of New Years making Mochi!  Pounding rice many times that it becomes stretchy and chewy and, well Mochi.  Look it up on Google or something.


video
Video describing Mochi

video
Me making Mochi

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Years


Osaka Castle!  It was pretty cool.  We weren't able to go inside because it was closed for New Year's...

I am still horrible at selfies on an iPad...

We went with a big group of missionaries.




Elders in my district trying to look cool.


We call this the boy band...  Yeah, we're pathetic... :)
This is a "Mega Mac" bigger than a Big Mac.


We were exploring one day and came upon an interesting place.  We learned that Higashi Osaka is the Rugby capital of Japan!  Who knew?  Well, right now, the Japan High School Rugby Championship is happening here!  About 45 high school rugby teams from across Japan are here competing for the title.  We spent a couple days here trying to talk to people.  It's the closest thing I got to football so I wanted to enjoy it haha!  Next preparation day is the championship game and so we are gonna try to watch it.  Go sports 
 


Taught a group of kids at he rugby park and they wanted me to take a selfie with them.  This generation's form of joy...
After District Meeting on New Year's Day, we all went to a member's house to eat traditional Japanese food that they have every year on the week of New Years.  This member though is famous!  He has worked with Janice Kapp Perry and has sung the Japanese versions of most of her songs and now has made about 7 albums with Janice Kapp Perry and other LDS song writers.  One of the songs he did was "I'll Find You My Friend" in Japanese and in English!  He is such a cool guy.  And he lives in our ward!








We then go to another member's house who feeds us much of the same traditional stuff!  Way good and I ate way too much! 



Then they made Ice Cream cake!  That was really yummy.