We`ve had a crazy weather week here in Osaka! On Wednesday we woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground. It was the first time in close to ten years that they`ve had that much snow here. Thankfully it was warm enough that it only stayed for a day or so. It was super wet and gross, nothing like the snow in Utah. It was so weird though! We had fun making snow men in the few extra minutes we had at lunch that day.
This week has been awesome! Our numbers shot up and we are feeling the blessings of the Lord so strongly! Because we have such an important goal to achieve this transfer we decided that it would be really helpful to fast every week. We started our fast on Thursday in hopes of finding a new investigator and having a baptism by March 23. We were street contacting around the train station by our apartment when I watched this guy walk into the station, wait as if he were waiting for someone, then turned and looked at us. He casually wandered out of the station when my companion called out to him. We introduced ourselves as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and he told us he had seen one of our churches in his previous area before moving to Sakai but had never really known anything about our church. We talked for a little bit and he expressed real interest in our church and desired to learn more about Jesus Christ. He didn`t have a phone so we walked with him down the street a little ways so he could show us where his apartment was. We asked him if we could meet him at the station the next day and walk to the church for an introduction and a lesson. He accepted and then walked back to his apartment. I didn`t think about it until later that night during our planning session when it hit me. There was no real rhyme or reason for him to be at the station that day. He walked in, simply looked around as if he was waiting for someone, proceeded to talk with us, and then went back to his apartment when we were finished talking. It was so weird!
We met him and went to the church the next day and he absolutely loved it. We gave him our `Setting the Table` lesson where we give him an overview of what we teach and he actually had a really good foundation about God! He told us he saw things as God is on the top, he`s our Father, and we are all his children so the whole human family is actually related. We were like, `Yeah thats pretty much it!` He was more than willing to come to church yesterday as well. He came to church and stayed for all three meetings and even took good notes during Sunday school! We taught him after church with a recent convert from the ward who was baptized in December. We talked about God again and our member gave a great testimony and his personal experience about meeting and being taught by the missionaries. It was an extremely powerful lesson. We briefly went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then asked him to be baptized. He gave a solid `Yes.` and will be baptized on March 23! I got the confirmation when we asked him to be baptized that he was the one. This will be the one that we baptize this transfer. It was an awesome feeling!
We got another new investigator this week too! He`s nineteen right now and pretty much a straight up Japanese thug. We were street contacting and I called over to him from across the street and he came right over and talked to us. He`s way cool and loves Americans. He talked to me about how much he likes American Hip Hop so we bonded over that and sports! We invited him to our church party on Sunday and he said he would come. We taught him after the party and he actually showed some interest in learning about God! He`s going to make a solid missionary in a few years! Both Y 長老 and I had a great feeling about him and we look forward to teaching him more! I think we`re going to go play soccer with him and his friends later this week in Osaka too so I`m excited for that!
We had a great week and I`m so greatful for all the love and support that you all show me. When times are tough all I have to do is remember that I have a loving family and Heavenly Father and everything is ok. Its insane how fast this mission is going. I grow so much as a person and a missionary every day and it absolutely terrifies me because I know I`ll be home before anyone even knows it. Two years is nothing compared to what Heavenly Father has given us. He asks so little and gives us so much. I`m more aware of that every day. I know in his strength I can do all things and I gain confidence in the knowledge that no matter how bad my Japanese is, it will be backed up by the hosts of Heaven. This is his work and his glory. I`m merely a lowly tool in his hands just trying to do what I can. I love my Heavenly Father and I love my Savior Jesus Christ.
Have an awesome week everyone! I love you!
Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles