24 November 2010

Letter from Matlock – 2 November 2010 (arrived the 23rd)

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
This week has been fantastic. So much has happened, we’ve found so many people and we’ve met with and have appointments with so many people.  With both my companion and I striving to be consecrated missionaries it’s like this area is overflowing with harvest.
One of the members brought his friend to church the Sunday before last.  His friend is from Cameroon, Africa.  This last Sunday he came again and afterwards we sat down and talked with him for just a few minutes.  We have him a book of Mormon and gave him a brief explanation of what it contained and how it’s helped me in my life.  He accepted it graciously as if he had been waiting for it for some time.  Then he told us that he’s trying to follow Christ and he knows that one can find safely and happiness in doing so.  He also said that he hopes we can help him do so, and that this moment (that moment) was the happiest of his life!
Then Sunday evening we had a church introduction lesson for a new Eikaiwa student.  Now from my previous interactions with him I understood that he doesn’t believe in God at all and doesn’t believe anything that has anything to do with church can help him in any part of his life.  So with this in mind we proceeded with the lesson.  We watched the finding happiness video that we show to many new potential investigators and then discussed it.  In simple Japanese (of course) I told him that our lives are too meaningful to end with death and if we did cease to exist with death, then what would be the point of anything?  I told him I knew we had a purpose in this life.  That got him thinking, and he agreed to meet again!  After reviewing the lessons afterwards it became clear you need at least a small amount of faith in God to benefit from any part of it.  So we’ll see what we can do about that.
Yesterday however the best thing ever happened!  So every Monday we have a family home evening activity and right before that we were wandering rather aimlessly looking for a postbox so that we could send off our president’s letters.  We passed a group of three college aged kids.  After we passed them my companion said to me – they were speaking Chinese – go talk to them their all kinjins (golden investigator).  A little sidenote/tangent – (Japanese Character) or Jin means person and often is used with nationality – Americanjin, nihonjin, mechikojin, etc, and (Japanese Character) or Kin is gold, or money.  So (Japanese Character) is a word we use out here as missionaries.  Anyways – I go and talk to them and as most Chinese out here do they all spoke great English.  I find out that one of them is Christian and he went to church all the time back in China!  He asked when church was and if he could come.  I said “yes, you can come.”  Then we talked a little bit about what we do as missionaries – and when he found out we teach people about the church and about the gospel he asked if we could teach him.  I said, “Yes, we could do that.”  He said that it was destiny that we met.  I said, “No, it’s not.”  Ok, just kidding, I agreed with him.  Then we invited them all to come to the church right then for FHE.  They all consented and we led the three of them over to the church!  It felt like a parade almost.  They all had a great time at the activity, really enjoyed it.  Afterwards the guy I was talking with about church back in China came up to me and said “I really need to talk to you.  I’ve been having a hard time since coming to Japan, the hardest of my life probably.  And you’re a fellow Christian so we’re like Christian brothers, I can talk freely and openly with you.”  So we’ll be meeting today actually.  Then a ward member, the best missionary member in the world, arranged to take all five of us out for all you can eat ramen this week.
I really can’t describe how happy I am about how things are going.  I wrote you about Spirit right?  He’s from china as well, but I challenged him to read the Book of Mormon and he called and told me it was just all words to him and he didn’t understand how it could help him or what he needed to look for.  He told me he needs a guide, someone to teach him, we’re meeting with him tomorrow actually and I’ll have the chance to tell him more about my favorite book.
We have so many appointments this week it might be a struggle to get to them all on time, I like that a lot better than no appointments.
Things are going great with my companion as well.  The culture and language gap is hilarious.  The funniest thing I think that has happened this week is when during study he sneezed and then turned to me and said, “bless me”. I think it may just be the fact that he’s not a native English speaker that made that funny.  He has to work pretty hard out here.  Most of the people we’re working with right now – investigators, less actives, are from China, Philippines, Africa…in other words their English is stronger than their Japanese.  So I’m thriving but it’s a change of pace for him!  It’s fun.
Love to you all!
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)

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