Friends and Family!
This week has been awesome! We`ve had a blast but the icing on the cake was the opportunity to hear from an Apostle of the Lord. We had the privilege of hearing from Elder D. Todd Christofferson this past week as a mission and it was truly an awesome experience! I got to shake his hand, too. So. Cool. He had nothing but great things to say about Japan and our mission. That was to be expected seeing that we ARE the greatest mission in the World (haha). It was really cool to see him in more of a relaxed environment as well. I was glad to see what a great sense of humor and whit he has. We sometimes forget how nice it is to just laugh every once in a while, you know? He praised our President, President Z very well and made me very grateful, once again, to have had the opportunity to be with him for the first half of my mission. He also told us to accept our new President, President W with as much love and respect as we all show the Z`s. He felt like he should tell us that the Lord is accepting our sacrificed and very pleased with the efforts of this mission. I think we all felt extremely humbled and loved at that. What an awesome experience it was!
We just keep on slowly building our teaching pool up as we go. We have a man with a baptismal date coming up soon, but we`re really not sure if he`s going to be able to be baptized right now. He has a little bit of schizophrenia and all he wants to do is move to the US so he can get away from Japan. He believes our church is true and he really does desire Eternal Life but he feels like he shouldn`t be baptized until he goes to the US. It`s a bit of a tough situation but we`re working really hard on being able to see him brought into the fold. We have another investigator, I`ve sent a lot of pictures of the two of us, he`s the gangster looking kid and he`s going okay right now. He really doesn`t have a lot of desire of interest in religion but we`re just staying as close as we can with him and slowly trying to help him see how much the church can bless his life. We were able to go play soccer with him last week at this HUGE soccer facility called Japan Green. We thought we were just going to go and mess around a little bit with a soccer ball but when we got there we were a little surprised to see the quality of players and actual team jerseys. These guys were nuts! I was talking to our investigator about how everyone looks like they were way good and he pointed at one guy and said he was actually a professional soccer player. It was crazy! Needless to say we just watched from the sidelines, but it was still fun! He came to the third hour of church the next day which was even better. It was funny though because he showed up to church wearing a bright green Brazil soccer jersey and camo pants with a pair of crocs. Hey, we`ll accept anyone into this church right?
One of the Ward members invited us to go to the driving range with him and a nonmember friend this last week and we had an awesome time! It was funny because I think at one point there were about ten people from the place just gathered around watching me hit balls. They would hand me their drivers and ask me to hit them and things like that! It was a good chance to get to talk to people and tell them what we were doing in Japan as well. I don`t know what it was, but for some reason I don`t think I`ve ever hit the ball that well in my life! I guess the Lord really does magnify our talents and abilities while in the mission field. The range was really cool because it was built into the side of a mountain and the net only went up about fifty feet or so. Over the net on on top of the hill was a 300 yard sign in front of a small group of trees. One guy asked me to hit his driver and I hit it just short of the sign a few times. It was a brand new driver with a REALLY expensive shaft on it but for some reason I just couldn`t hit it very well. Then a guy handed me a Titleist driver, 8 degree, from about twelve years ago or so and I sent two in a row on a line drive, screaming into the group of trees over the 300 yard sign. I just turned and shrugged at the guy and told him I liked `this one`. It was awesome!
We`ve had a really good week and my trainee continues to do really well and learn rather quickly. One thing I`ve learned over the past week as how simple and plain this gospel really is. We went through 2 Nephi 31 with a few of our investigators and it really helped them see just how plain and straight forward this gospel really is. If we follow the steps of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End, we really CAN receive Eternal Life! We had a few great lessons on that and they were capped off with the simple testimonies of my companion and I that this really is the only way to return to our Heavenly Father. I love how simple it is. Five steps and an Eternity of happiness. I know this is true. I know that we have the opportunity to receive Eternal Life through the Gospel of our redeemer Jesus Christ! I love being a member of this church and having this knowledge!
I love you all and hope you`re having an amazing week! Crazy to believe the school year is already just about over. Crazy how fast time goes by. I love you guys!
Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles