Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Monday, April 25, 2016

I am now in Okayama 岡山!

Dear Everyone,

Pretty eventful week this week! I found out about transfers on Tuesday night and they said I was going to a place called Okayama! It is a part of the mission that I haven't been before, so I was way excited to go. Tuesday and Wednesday was filled with packing and saying goodbye to members and investigators. It was a little sad, but I've gotten used to it on my mission. I really love the members in Higashi Osaka and all of the friends I was able to make.

Saying bye to our Chinese friend and our Napalese friend.  Ate lunch at this Indian Curry restaurant.  Love places like this.

Saying bye to our Takoyaki friend!  Last taste of Osaka Takoyaki... It was a sad moment...

This is our Tuesday Eikaiwa people.  They gave flowers to the transferring missionaries.  Me and all three sisters transferred.

The former Bishop of the ward.  We paid a quick visit to say bye to him.

Love these two members!

Our Wednesday Eikaiwa!

This is one of our investigators!  Awesome guy!  He's from Iran!

Bye Higashi Osaka!

Transfers now are different than they were when I last transferred. Now, each missionary goes straight to their new area by themselves! So, I travelled all the way to Okayama (a 6 hour trip) with my bike and a suitcase with no companion. It was crazy, but somehow I made it safely and on time.


Okayama is a beautiful area. Back in the day, they had the Japan Okayama mission, so the apartment that the elders stay in now is the old Mission Office and mission home! It is huge! It's right next to the church too which is very rare. Wow I love how convenient it is. We even have mattresses!! I'm not sleeping on the floor! There are only two of us in the apartment, so we have plenty of space. Definitely one of the best places a missionary in the Kobe mission can live in. We've got a lot of cleaning to do, but we're getting there. My new companion is Elder Ray from Nevada. He's half Japanese (almost a Japanese companion like you wanted) and he is now 6th transfer (now the 4th companion that I've had who was 6th transfer with me). His first name is Utah, so that's pretty cool. He's an awesome guy and we are doing well right now.

This area and ward has a lot of potential. The three days that I've been here have been amazing. This is a huge ward; about 130 active members. However, I haven't been able to meet a lot of them because this week was also Stake Conference! But, the members that I have met so far have been amazing and they really help and love the missionaries. Also, we have a few investigators who are really progressing. Let me just do a recap of the past few days.

Friday- We went to Early Morning Seminary at 6:00 in the morning. Super fun! A couple young women and one of our investigators was there. (Yes, an investigator went to Early Morning seminary.) then, after lunch, we helped the sisters with fixing their bike and then tried visiting some investigators who all ended up not being home. We then visited a member who warmly welcomed us in and we were able to have a nice talk and share a lesson with him. He is really fellowshipping one of our investigators who is really close to baptism, so he gave us some advice to help this investigator. (this investigator has been taught everything and wants to get baptized, he just has to overcome a problem with the Word of Wisdom). Then we went to try visiting a referral that we received from the sisters, but they weren't home either. But, we were prepared! We went looking for a less active member who lived close. As we were looking for the house, a couple of older women saw us and asked if we were looking for _____ (an ACTIVE member of the ward). We said that we weren't, but asked them to point us to where she lives. (These older women recognized our white shirts, name tags and helmets and said that she sees us all the time.) we went to the less active house, but they didn't answer either. We then decided to go to the active member's house and was able to talk to her and share a message. Then, she said "hey, come with me, I am going to introduce you to one of my friends!" So, we went with her to a neighbor's house. This friend wasn't interested, but I was so impressed with  this member's fire and desire to share the gospel. So awesome especially because this is what I've been trying so hard to do in my last area. After this whole thing happened, we decided to visit the referral's house again to see if they were there. They were there! We were able to talk to 4 people from Vietnam who are really good at Japanese and English. We talked to them about church and they all said they wanted to come! We also invited them to an activity that the YM had the next day. Friday was a day filled with miracles.

Saturday- We had a Young Men's activity at 9:00 where we played baseball with the YM and the leaders and a couple of the Young Women who came as well. 3 investigators showed up; 2 of the Vietnamese people from Friday and the one who went to Early Morning seminary. Let me tell you about this investigator. Let's call him Moose. Moose is 18 years old, just moved to Okayama for college. Moose met the missionaries on the street last Friday. My companion and his last companion found him and invited him to church. That Sunday he came to church in a suit and tie (which is super rare for investigators in Japan). He already acts like a member and all of them thought he was a member visiting Okayama. He really enjoyed church and asked the missionaries if he could go to the Early Morning seminary class. Since Sunday, he has come to Early Morning every day. So, we played baseball and then all of us helped clean the church. During this time, the Young Men's leader invited these 3 to dinner at his house on Sunday night (MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK!!) After that, us and the 3 investigators went to play basketball and we shared a message about prayer with them. We then invited them to go to stake conference. (Stake conference was held in a place that is 2 hours away.) they all wanted to come, so we set up rides for all of them to be driven by a member to it.

Sunday- Stake conference. Again, Moose came in a suit and tie. Moose rode with us and a member family and the two Vietnamese people went with that member from Friday who took us to her friend's house. They all came to Stake conference and all enjoyed it. I translated the whole conference from Japanese to English for the Vietnamese people. (That was fun) Then we got back and went to the Sunday dinner. At that dinner, my companion and I and the YM leader shared the first lesson, the Restoration of the Gospel. We showed the Restoration video and testified about the reality of Joseph Smith and God the Father and Jesus Christ. We shared how we know this because of prayer. It was a powerful lesson, one of the best I've been in. We invited them to pray about the truthfulness of the restoration and they all said they would. (BTW, at the end of the video, there is a scene where Joseph Smith Sr. gets baptized. Moose, after the video, asks, "what's that thing they did at the end?" This guy is golden haha) such a great lesson in the perfect environment; investigators in a member's home.

Man, this was long, but I haven't had this much fun with missionary work for a long, long time. Moose also came to seminary this morning and said that the Joseph Smith experience was "すごいな〜" (it's so cool!) very good hopes for this guy as well as the other two people. Desire to meet, willingness to act, love and support of ward members. That is what helps convert people to this wonderful gospel. God truly prepares his people. Members are the key to missionary work. Without the cooperation and unity between the members and the missionaries, this work cannot happen.

I am so excited for this area and for this transfer. We also have an exciting announcement as a mission. On May 22nd, we will have a mission-wide conference where Elder Whiting and Elder Choi of the Area Presidency as well as Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will come to talk to the mission. I am so excited for that. Also, our mission president has challenged us to have at least one baptism before that day. I truly believe that Moose and the Vietnamese people can get baptized soon. Such a great opportunity to be in Okayama right now.

Hope I didn't bore you with this super long email. I hate long emails, so I'm sorry I gave one out.... This church is true y'all! Love you all so much!

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

Monday, April 18, 2016

Last week in Higashi Osaka

Dear Everyone,

So this was the fastest transfer of my life. Went by in a flash and I can't believe it. As the title says, this was my last week in Higashi Osaka. I've been here for 6 months now, so it was very likely and I wasn't surprised about it. However, I have no idea where I will be going. My zone leaders just said I'm transferring and I'm not in Osaka zone. We'll see where I go soon. I'm hoping it is somewhere "Inaka" (English translation- countryside?)

So, the last week here was pretty crazy. Not exactly the positive crazy either. Let's just say some problems arose and we have been trying to work with the ward and try to be united with the ward. It was a hard week. But, other than that, it was a normal week. Not too much success, but 'Tis missionary work sometimes.

We did have a miracle on Sunday morning. We woke up at 6:30 like always and I looked at the phone and saw that we had a text from one of our investigators (the one from China who came to conference last week.) he said that he couldn't come to church, but he also said "I want to talk to you missionaries about baptism, do you have time on Tuesday?" And then another text that said "also, I want to get baptized." SWEET! I really think General Conference is what helped him make the decision. So, we will meet with him and then pick a date for his baptism. I probably won't be able to go to it, but either way, I am so glad that he is willing to take this step. Miracles happen!

I've learned so much in my personal studies recently. Right now, I am trying to find and write down connections from the talks of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles and so far, I've expanded my understanding of the messages we hear from conference. One talk that I read that really had an impact on me was President Nelson "The Price of Priesthood Power." I learned that I need to live worthy for this priesthood power every single minute of everyday. Also, I need to seek to expand my knowledge of the gospel and seek to receive spiritual gifts. It is not enough to be a "Sunday Christian". True Priesthood power comes from everyday choices and actions. Here is a quote that I love "Only a man who has paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bring miracles to those he loves and keep his marriage and family safe, now and throughout eternity."

Yeah, I've learned a lot in this area. I feel like most of my time here was for me to learn about myself and the way this church works. I am grateful for my time in Higashi Osaka.

Have a great week! The church is true! Always, keep smiling and give 'em Heaven!

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


Last district meeting of the transfer.  We are all so awesome and it shows in our awesome group pictures.  The bottom one is something the Japanese school kids do to line up.


This is our Ward Mission Leader!  I love this guy a lot.

Went to see some Cherry Blossoms with some Eikaiwa students.  So many people and so many Cherry Blossoms.  Really hard to take good pictures though...

This is the last time I meet with this investigator.  

Love this guy so much!  He is going to Utah the day after I go home, so he might go to my homecoming talk!  We'll see.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Conference Weekend!

Dear everyone,

Holy cow this church is true! I loved conference and I learned so much! But, it was the fastest conference weekend of my life. I remember when I was little where sitting down for 2 whole hours for Priesthood session was so hard! But, all 10 hours felt like it went by in 2 hours. I want more! But, I've got enough to study and learn for the next 6 months, so I guess it's okay. It was just so good.

This week was an awesome week and we saw many small miracles.  Everything from a random Less-Active member finding us and telling us why she hasn't been to church, to a bunch of other random people wanting to talk to us. We were doing some finding at a nearby college and in the span of an hour and a half, we were able to teach 8 different people about Jesus Christ and what we do as missionaries. It felt like every time we started walking, another person would say, "hey! Who are you?" It was awesome and we were able to make a couple return appointments with people. It was crazy. The Lord's hand truly is in everything and his work is hastening, quite miraculously.

We were also able to have 3 of our investigators come to watch at least one session of conference. It was a great opportunity for them.  They loved it and they learned a lot about what they want to do with their life. It was a special feeling to see them take notes during conference and finding out what God wants them to learn. It's kind of like watching your kid finally grow up (I'm guessing... I don't have any kids.) way cool.

Time is flying so fast. Next week is transfer announcements and it feels like the transfer just started. I can't believe that I only have 4 months left on my mission. I learned a lot from conference that charged me and will allow me to work hard these next couple months. One of my favorite parts of the mission is the chance I have to change myself. I've gone through a lot of experiences on my mission that I never had imagined I would go through and because of that, I am a better person now than I was a year and a half ago. I will continue to change and improve. The beauty of the gospel is that this improvement and change never has to stop. We believe in eternal progression. Think about that. Even Heavenly Father is improving. How can he, isn't he already perfect? I don't know how, but he is, somehow. There is no end. I love that.

We are so blessed to have God's true church on the earth. Only by living this perfect gospel can we find balance and happiness and peace in this insane world. There are so many bad influences in the world and we need the guidance and trust of our leaders and of the Holy Ghost. I know that the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles are called of God and they know exactly what we are facing. I sustain them all as prophets, seers and revelators. Thomas S. Monson is God's chosen servant and he holds all of the keys of the priesthood, which keys give us blessings without measure.

Love you all! Have a great week! Don't forget the things you learned from conference! You have heavenly help!

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

View of Kyoto!

Members from Nishiwaki!!! Ahhh miss it so much!

Sakura! (cherry tree - blossoms)

The Kyoto ring!

Randomly met a church member from Taiwan who knows Ben and Yumiko Sainsbury!  What a small world.  The was another miracle.

A park near our apartment.

Osaka zone and the AP's at ZTM.  Elder Sano is dying.

Eating lunch with some of the zone.

Random perverted college students.

Left:  normal American Pringles.  Right:  Pringles in Japan... Yup I like America.

We went to Holland today!  A cool park in the neighboring area that we went to today.

We found this, didn't make it...