So, this has been a crazy week. We've had a lot of ups and downs; which I guess is a normal week on the mission. However, we've had a lot of progress with our main investigator!
This is the guy that has all of the problems and has been up and down for most of the time I've been in Osaka. This week, we came in with the goal to see why he actually wants to get baptized, whether to get more money and help, or because he wants to change his life, get closer to God, and all that jazz. So, we asked him that and he sincerely said, "I want to change my life and I think that baptism will allow that to happen." He really has hope and faith that baptism will change his life and that Jesus Christ can take away his pain and his sins. He actually has a really good understanding of repentance. He understands that it is a change and you commit to never commit that sin again. I was quite surprised with his understanding of repentance.
We went over the qualifications of baptism in D&C 20:37 with him and he learned what needs to happen in order for him to be baptized. He has a problem with smoking and he knows the word of wisdom and that smoking is the biggest thing stopping him from being baptized. So during the lesson, we asked him if he would throw away all of the things that are related to smoking. He gave us all of his lighters, his remaining cigarettes and his ash trays and said that we could get rid of it! Wow, that was one of the coolest experiences of my mission. To see the change in this man is remarkable. His desire to change is something that I've never seen before and him throwing those things away was a symbol for how he is willing to do all it takes to change, even though it is really hard for him.
Addiction is real and it is really hard. It is almost impossible to quit. Because of an addiction, the body believes that it needs this substance in order to function. It becomes like the need for food and water. So, just because the substance is taken away from them doesn't mean that the desire to do so will go away as well. No, it is much harder than that. The only way one can overcome an addiction is through the Atonement and grace of Jesus Christ. The atonement will give us the power and strength needed to endure every hour of everyday. If we trust God, show him that we are willing to obey him, our decisions will be guided and we will have more strength to overcome.
In order to help replace tobacco, we gave him a couple church CD's and a few Liahona magazines. We also told him to call us whenever he is feeling vulnerable. So, Saturday, we get a call from him saying that he wants to smoke. When he called for that, I was so happy and proud of him. It takes so much faith to do that. I told him to take a walk and pray and read the scriptures. He did so, but the. A bit later, he said that he fell and smoked. But, his progress is so good. I was still so proud of him.
When I think of this situation, I think of a quote from last conference by Elder Larry R. Lawrence. "He rejoices every time we take a step forward. To Him, our direction is ever more important than our speed." It would be great if he got baptized when I'm here, but if not, I have the faith that he will get baptized sometime. He is facing the right way and he is doing his best. It's so awesome to see him beginning his change of heart.
One of the sad parts about this week was the investigator that we met last week. We visited him at the appointed time, but nobody answered the door. There were people inside, but they didn't come out. We also went again a couple days later, but the same thing. Pretty lame sauce, but 'tis is life.
I hope you have a great week! Love you all! The church is true. Take a look at Mosiah 2:20-24. Mind blowing!
Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部
|This is called a "sanshin" 三線. Traditional Japanese instrument.|
|The district for this transfer! We also had 2 members who are preparing for a mission come to it. It was great! It's a great district.|
|We had a farewell party for a member who is leaving on his mission next week. It was way fun.|