Monday, June 15, 2015

Wow, what an incredible week - June 14th

Wow, what an incredible week.  A sense of awe comes over me as I think about it and what it did for me.  What it meant.  Truly I can stand with my mission president and say "These are days never to be forgotten"

This week was incredibly difficult.  Getting up the first day, my whole body seemed to say "Just go back to bed, it doesn't matter anyways."  And it was hard for me to ignore it.  But I got up anyway, and it was still hard.  Do you know how many people want to talk about religion on a normal basis?  Hardly any.  Now how many at 6:30 in the morning?  Absolutely none.  It was so hard to take rejection after rejection, going slightly delusional in my head that if I just act peppy and cheery it won't matter, I just have to do my work cheerfully and it will work.  It continued to be hard, it continued to be difficult.  I definitely tried to do a variety of things rather than just proselyte to people all day, but it was rough. Every day we get rejected, everyday made fun of, everyday we walk countless miles just to see no results.  But we still do the work, because the work is still true.  The work still moves on.  This week may have been hard, but it came with power.  It came with renewed strength, and an added bonus.  I saw people's countenances change as the effects of alcohol gave way to the Spirit of God.  I saw very mean and angry people from other churches sit still for over 20 minutes while me and my companion taught them the plan of salvation.  But above everything else I learned something.  

The week before last, as I told you, I had received an answer to my prayer.  That the 100 hr week was going to be my own little Zions Camp.  I didn't quite know what I was going to learn, what I was going to experience, but I knew it would be hard and I knew it would be rewarding. As I worked last week though, I found excuses to get out of working for so long, or just doing something easier.  Every time I did it, I felt kinda bad, but I kept going, I needed a small break!  Didn't heavenly father know that I was dying??? Didn't he know that I was walking over 20 km a day??? Didn't he know that if I didn't slow die I would die? I wouldn't want to do missionary work afterwards?  Of course he knew, and of course he cared.  But, today I learned my lesson during my studies as the thought came to me as clear as a whistle, "I need you to talk to my children, everyday, all day, for the rest of your time.  I asked for everything, your heart, might, mind, AND STRENGTH.  I asked you to do only one thing, preach my gospel.  Now stop taking breaks, stop wasting time, and feed my sheep."  I sat at my desk, then torn apart by the spirit, I prayed, and asked for forgiveness. 

For those of you who don't know, when you come on your mission you sign a letter that states you will follow all mission rules and do everything you can to preach the gospel.  

I realized I wasn't living up to that.  I couldn't look back and say that I had given it my everything.  And I regret it.  Was it a waste of time?  No of course not, I learned my lesson.  And from here on out, I will work even harder.  

Heavenly Father doesn't ask much of his people, even his missionaries.  But what he does ask is the most important.  I gave a district meeting this week about this.  Heavenly Father has given us everything, and can take it all back again.  Except for one thing, and it's that one thing that he asks for: our Agency.  What a small thing.... but this "small thing" caused Heavenly Father to lose 1/3 of his children because one of his sons wanted to get rid of it.  And it's precisely that one thing he asks for us to give back up to him.  And in exchange for that, he gives us everything!!!!

And so I have learned that if I give everything up.  EVERYTHING, I actually gain it all the more.  There's an old saying "Toss your bread upon the waters and watch it come back buttered and toasted"  That's precisely what happens!!!!

I have an even stronger testimony of our work from this week.  I saw satan at work throughout the entire week trying to stop us, and it didn't work.  I saw missionaries perform miracles, and saw many miracles myself.  The winds halted, the storms ceased, and even power tools stopped working when the Lord's servants were working.  The lords work will go on unineterrupted, and it will encompass the entire world.

Well, I hope everyone is doing well!  Shout out now to Amanda and Will(? Hope that's right) on their wedding!  May the lord bless you! 
Also thank you to everyone who is praying for me and my companion.  We feel the power of those prayers everyday and it sustains us and keeps us going!

Love all of you

Elder Yamagata

P.s. just in case you were wondering how satan worked:  Our water boiler was off for 3 days, our phone broke 2ce, our house flooded, elder Hansen's stalker came to the church and we had to protect him..... oh man rough week, on top of the roaches and earwigs hahaha.  But we keep working!

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