こんにちわみなさん！！How is everyone doing. I loved the pictures from Primary Children`s. That`s got to be one of the best traditions ever. We got to carol these last two Sundays at old folks homes and its been absolutely awesome. I started to cry because of the tears in these peoples eyes after we sang `Silent Night`. They`re so lonely but I could see the life and the spirit in all of them as we sang. It was an awesome experience!
This last week started off pretty rough with the devastating news about our beloved Bailee. After emailing I told myself that I would be fine. We went out that night and saw a little bit of success. While we were housing this big apartment building all I could see was Bailee running down the halls towards me. It was a tough night. We got home and were calling our investigator and contacts when I finally broke down and lost it. I was so sad. Elder S took me on a walk around the apartment and we talked everything out. He helped so much. The guy can make anyone laugh. After that we came back and I told my companion about what happened. He had the same experience in his second transfer. His dog that he`d had since he was five passed away and he remembered exactly how it felt. Even though I was sad I was able to work to my full ability.
On Wednesday we went to Okayama for Trainer Trainee Training Meeting and I got to see Elder B!!! It was so awesome! You should have seen us when we first saw each other. We were like a couple of kids! It was so great to see him. He seems to be doing just fine and he has a great companion. We were talking about all the candy and sweets Japan has and how he thinks he`s getting fat. I told him I bike WAY to fast to put on any weight out here. He`s still in that early state of missionary life. Eventually things start to get easier and the mission becomes fun! The training meeting was awesome.
We have an article that Z Kaicho wrote about a year and a half ago called `Red Door Blue Door`, the meeting was based off of this article. What this is, is the power of the Atonement. The Red Door is the cleansing, or purifying power of the Atonement that we access through repentance and taking the sacrement. Most members of the church believe that this is where the power ends, however, there is a blue door. The Blue Door is the enabling, or strengthening power of the Atonement and can only be accessed by first going through the Red Door. When the Blue Door is accessed, we are able to access the power of God and perform miracles. We talked a lot about this and I finally realized how amazingly simple all of this is. The Atonement is a special, special thing and we are so privileged to be blessed by its power. I challenge everyone this Christmas to access the Blue Door! Repent and forsake your sins and then ask Heavenly Father to bless you with his power. Its amazing what he can do with such weak beings! I love this church.
Our teaching pool has almost doubled within the last three days or so. We had a ward Christmas party on Saturday and one of our recent converts brought two of his non-member friends along and we were able to teach both of them! One of them is a higher up in his company and had a really interesting outlook for how he wanted to use the teachings of Jesus Christ. He said because he was in charge of a lot of people he wanted to know how he could use Jesus Christ as an example in his conduct with his employees, what an awesome mindset right? I was blown away.
Yesterday before church we were studying and the church phone rang. It was a man asking if he could come to sacrement after he looked up our church online. We invited him to come and asked him if he could come a little bit early so we could give him a church tour and a short lesson before the meetings started. He said he`d come right away! The guy was awesome. He`s 31, married, and has three kids under five right now. He works for Kawasaki but his working environment is really tough and it makes him have depression. I guess he`s been taking the last month or so off work because his depression became so serious and he needed to spend time with his kids. He has never really had any beliefs as far as religion goes but he was curious one day so he started researching Christianity and stumbled upon the Mormon church. He loved how warm and friendly the members were and he said he felt really peaceful in sacrement meeting. I wonder why? He accepted a commitment to be baptized and we are planning to baptize him on January 17! How awesome is that??
I`m going to be sad if I get transferred out of Akashi next week. I love it here. This is my home! I don`t want to leave but I know if the Lord calls me another way he has someone else that needs the gospel and he needs me to give it to them. I have been so humbled while I`ve been out here in the field. I`ve never had to rely on someone like I`ve had to rely on Christ for the last 11 weeks. My faith has been strengthened and all I`m trying to do is change someones life. It`s truly amazing how much a mission can change you. I`ve realized how spoiled I`ve been my whole life growing up in a home where the gospel is a part of everyone`s lives and living in an area where most people have the same religious beliefs as me. Japan is so different. The faith of the members here is inspiring. I love my mission and I love this church! Merry Christmas everyone!!!
Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles