Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Book of Mormon Does It Again

Elder Kevin Gottfredson, November 2012

While I was in my first area, my senior companion was sent off to a specialized training meeting.  I was left in a three-person companionship.  The two other missionaries were both highly skilled in both language and teaching ability.  We had an appointment with one of our investigators with a baptismal date.  He had been struggling with some opposition from family and friends, so I felt like a message about the importance of baptism would strengthen him.  With the help of the two other missionaries, we carefully planned some scriptures to read.

When we arrived at the appointed lesson, at the tiny office building that was being used as a church, we met Brother Yamamoto.  The first thing he noted was that there had been a huge earthquake and there was a tsunami coming on the east coast.  We shrugged off that comment, not realizing the gravity of the situation on that 11th day of March, 2011.  The second comment by Brother Yamamoto was that he would no longer be meeting with the missionaries.  He had made a decision based on the pressure from his friends.
Slightly taken back, we pled with him for one more lesson.  He accepted.  One of the missionaries I was with told me that he “got this” and he knew just how to solve the man’s problem.  As I have come to know this missionary since that time, I grew to know the skill he had with solving other people’s problems.  In retrospect, it still seems foolish that I turned down his confident request to change the lesson.  Though both missionaries were very reluctant, they allowed me to take the lead and continue our planned lesson on baptism.

As we read the first scripture from 2 Nephi, everyone still seemed skeptical.  When we read the second scripture from Alma, however, something strange happened.  Brother Yamamoto looked up at us and to everyone’s amazement, said that he would be baptized.  We ended up reading the third scripture as well, just to be safe, but he had no more questions and no more concerns.  In fact, he had no more concerns and he was baptized a week later.
Elder Gottfredson, Bro. Yamamoto, and Elder McClain
This experience increased my faith in the power and importance of the Book of Mormon.  Looking back, there is no reason I should have ignored the council of my senior companions and continue with the lesson that he had planned before.  I guess God speaks to his children.

The Church is true.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Inochi no Michi, December 2012

Oh the excitement!  What a thrill!  It is Shogatsu time.   I’m sure you all know that in Japan, that means:  TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE, top to bottom, better than ever, not missing a thing!  Perfection is the word of the month (or 3 P-days, or one—however long it takes.)

So, do you remember when you received the lovely laminated card with your cleaning schedule?  It is called “January – Major Deep Cleaning Month.”  It is golden.  Dig it out of your backpack, where it’s been since we gave it to you.  Or go looking underneath the dust.  It has to be there somewhere. (Call if you really can’t find it—it is essential.)  The time has come! 

Get to work and do the best job of cleaning you have ever done.  Use soap and water.  If there is something greasy, use baking soda.  If it is in the bathroom or a sink, use the green cleaner.  And especially, use elbow grease.  (For you Japanese speakers, that means “muscle power.”)

Clean top to bottom, starting high and moving down.  Light fixtures, ceilings and walls, heaters, stove top (be sure to read details on that laminated sheet), inside and outside of fridge, all small appliances, chairs, table, desks, kitchen sink and drain, doors and handles, cabinets and shelves (inside and out),  organize as you replace items and throw away old stuff, clean fans and dust edges and tops of things, clean out and organize bedroom closets, air out futons, wash all bedding,  clean out the shower and drains and under the tub  (you should be able to remove a panel from the bottom on the front of the tub), washer and dryer all over, windows, mirrors, curtains, and finally, vacuum or mop all floors everywhere, including under desks and other moveable furniture. Read directions from the cleaning sheet and if you have questions, call Sister Barney. 

Does it sound overwhelming?  Well, it’s really not.  Just start. Work together.  You’ll be surprised how quickly you can get it all cleaned.  And it will smell, look, and feel fresh and wonderful.  (You might want to do it more often.) 

And when you are finished, turn over the cleaning card.  There you will find the way to keep your apartment clean for the rest of the year.  You will be so energized and happy with your clean apartment you’ll want to go out and 20X.  Happy Cleaning.  Don’t bother to thank me…I know you are eternally grateful. 

Love, Sister Barney