Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I hope you all had an awesome week, and more importantly, a better fast and testimony Sunday! This week has been great and we`ve seen miracles in the mission for sure!
At our New Year`s Conference we got a new mission training plan. These trainings just give us a good focus and ways that President Zinke believes that we can further the work in the mission. I absolutely love them and I study it every day! This training plan is called, `Its about you... Relying on Him`. It`s exactly what I needed right now in my mission for sure. The training plan references a lot of scriptures and then helps us to put the doctrine into action in order to reach our goals.
We got two special goals along with this training plan. We were promised that if we really put this training plan into effect that we would see 400 investigators/nonmembers to Sacrement Meeting on February 2, 2014 and also that every companionship in the Japan Kobe Mission would see a baptism by March 23, 2014. These are goals that we, as mere mortals, couldn`t even fathom, but we have faith that the Lord can do all things! It`s been absolutely crazy because not only did my companion, Y 長老 and I start with nothing once this transfer, we had to do it twice! This week has been packed full of inviting absolutely everyone we could to church and planning for the five investigators we have right now.
We knew that in order to reach the goal of 400 investigators to church in the mission we had to have at least 6 investigators in every ward. This didn`t seem like too hard of a task because we usually have 3-4 come but we wanted to make the goal so bad! In the mission, the most investigators/nonmembers we`ve ever had to church was 163. That was WAY intimidating but I think we all had to have faith to see miracles.
One by one we invited to church. We had 3 of our investigators commit to come and the other companionship in our apartment got 7 of theirs to commit to come! We have a really solid ward here in Sakai that`s really excited about missionary work so we asked all the members to do what they could to make the goal. They were all really excited about it and said they would do what they could to bring their friends to church!
Yesterday morning was really stressful trying to figure everything out for sacrement. We had two of our investigators show up and we were really excited to see them but we knew we needed more! When sacrement meeting started I didn`t know how many nonmembers were there until I got up on the stand to bear my testimony. I saw SO many unfamiliar faces sitting with members, it was so awesome! After sacrement we got together with the Ward Missionaries and the Bishopric to total up the numbers. We had 13 nonmembers at church yesterday! It was awesome!
We knew we did our part to achieve the goal but we still weren`t sure if the entire mission had seen the success that we saw. It was going to be even tougher because two of the zones in the mission had Stake Conference this weekend in Kobe and not everyone was going to be able to go all the way to the Stake Center.
We sent our numbers in last night, knowing that of all the wards in our Zone, we needed 60 nonmembers. We got the report from the Zone Leaders last night and we had 73 come in our zone yesterday!
We were ecstatic but we STILL didn`t know whether or not we hit our goal of 400... About an hour or so ago we biked as fast as we could to look up the number on our emails. We had 396 nonmembers at church yesterday. Our God is a God a miracles. From the most EVER of 163 to almost reaching an unthinkable goal of 400. It was amazing.
I couldn`t help but feel the electricity and the spirit in the air in church yesterday. Something big is about to happen in this country. The work is truly about to astonish the entire world. I can`t wait to see what happens with our next goal of every single companionship seeing a baptism by March 23.
If we achieve that goal we will be on pace to shatter another record of baptisms by the end of the year. If we hit our goal we will have 126 baptisms in the mission by March! We had 204 total last year. The Lord is truly hastening his work here in Japan.
I really do feel very priviledged to be here and to be on my mission. Its really weird to think its not `Two Years` anymore. I`m 1/4 done. I`m at six months and I can`t believe how fast it has gone by. This hasn`t been easy by any stretch of the imagination. This is the hardest thing I`ve ever done in my life. Every single day is a struggle but looking back, I can never remember how hard it was, or any specifics, I can only remember the joys. It`s funny how that works right? I read an awesome quote this week that really put into perspective how much the Lord truly loves us. I`m typing this from memory so I might take a few of my own liberties but this is the jist of what it said: `At the end of a mans life he found himself walking along a beautiful beach at sunset with the Savior. The Savior asked him if he would like to view his life one more time, the man said yes, and scenes from his life started to flash across the sky. He saw the joys he had experienced as well as some of the hardest moments in his life. The man couldn`t help but notice that when he was watching the joys in his life, he saw two pairs of footprints in the sand, his, and the Saviors. In the hardest points in his life, however, he only saw one set of footprints. Extremely troubled the man asked the Lord, `How come you always walked beside me in the best moments of my life, but in the hardest times, you left me?` The Savior looked at the man lovingly and said, `My sweet, sweet, child. I would never leave you on your own, for in the hardest, most trying times of your life, It was I that carried you.`
I thought that was so beautiful and a perfect representation of the Saviors love for all of us. I love this work. I love Japan. and I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know he carries me every day.
I love you all! I hope you have an awesome week. I`m praying for you all constantly!
All my love,
Elder Jeffrey Giles