Success. Now that is an interesting word that is on the minds of missionaries (as well as probably nearly everyone else's) very often. When I first came on the mission, my ideas of success was 1) numbers (the number of people you baptize, the number of investigators you have, or even the number of people you talk to each week) and 2) positions (district leader, zone leader, trainer, assistant, etc.). Since I've been on the mission, I've received trainings over and over about what REAL success is and what God has defined success for us as, but still, deep down, to me it was about baptisms and positions.
For those who have followed my emails from the beginning, you know that in the first few months of my missions I had the opportunity to see a few of my closest friends in Japan follow the example of Jesus Christ through being baptized. Since then, finding interested people has honestly been a struggle. I've thought and prayed long and hard about why over the past few months I've "failed" so much. Don't get me wrong, I've had a blast still, but anyone who has ever served a mission knows that not much is more frustrating than giving what you think is your all and not seeing any "success."
Well, over the past few weeks, my pride and stubbornness have been forced into humility over and over and over. It has finally hit me that while yes, if I was doing more, I honestly think I could have helped more people, true success isn't in the numbers.
Our missionary guide (Preach My Gospel) defines success as our "commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost." The key word to me their is "commitment." While my "numbers" might not be what I hoped they would be, my commitment is do my very best and give it my all has never been greater on my mission. Preach My Gospel says that we are successful when we do things like "Love people and desire their salvation," develop Christlike attributes," and "teach and serve other missionaries."
I'm not genius, but that to me sounds like a pretty good definition for life. While yes, often the results we achieve are important, if we are committed to the best causes, love others, become more like Christ, and serve those around us, I'd say we are doing just fine.
Gomen, this is a rather long intro that I was debating even throwing in here or not, but for some reason felt I should. The rest of this email will be pretty short!
Notes/Stories from the Week
- Interviews with two of the best people I know!
- Every few months, our mission president and his wife tour the mission to meet with us one on one! Those talks are some of the best moments of my mission so far. They are two of the simply most incredible people I've ever met. They are sacrificing three years of the lives (away from their kids and granddaughters) to serve the people of Japan and keep track of 200 punk 18-28 year olds. I talked a lot to Sister Egan about choosing the harder right over the easier wrong, and to President Egan about leadership as a missionary.
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
I talked about him a bit last week, but Elder Serville is pretty incredible. Having him as a companion is a huge miracle to me. This past week we made a "Miracle Card" where we listed about 13 or so things we do that aren't 100% consistent with being representatives of Jesus Christ (leaving the apartment at instead of , keeping visits with members to only 1 hr, etc.). Honestly small things that don't seem that important, but that we have been asked to do as missionaries. I can honestly say that it is the most obedient and optimistic I have been on the mission so far! If we give it our all, God will bless us. It's that simple.
Video and Invitation for the Week
This is idea of a loving, Heavenly Father is sadly foreign to many, many people around the world. This video talks a bit about our self worth because we have a loving Heavenly Father. Please watch and share with a friend who it would help!
Pictures for the Week.
-1: Elder Mizoguchi and I at interviews with Kaicho
-2-3: Earthquake damage service! Still toooons of work to do
Japan Fukuoka Mission
ケビン C. コルトン 長老