Monday, April 17, 2017

Conference, Elder Osborne, and Okinawa


Another fantastic week on the mission. Here was the basic schedule:
  • Saturday/Sunday- General Conference! My overall take away was the only way to change and to change others for good is through love and patience that comes from following God. We also had a great lesson with Miyazaki San, a young father interested in truth, and who invited us to meet his family on Tuesday!
  • Monday- Honbu
  • Tuesday- Companion exchange with Elder Osborne! He is six weeks ahead of me on the mission and I have known him since the MTC. He is also the most talented man in the world (singer, piano player, athlete, all the above).
  • Wednesday- flew down to Okinawa!
  • Thursday- companion exchange with Elder Barker! See below
  • Friday- Ginowan/Naha zone conference and came back to Fukuoka
  • Saturday- P-day!
Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Two more awesome companion exhanges!
    • This past week I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Osborne from Arizona (currently in Yamaguchi) and Elder Barker from California (currently in Okinawa). Both waaaay fun. On companion exchanges, we spend the entire day together going out and doing missionary work. With Elder Barker, we had two lessons down in Okinawa that were pretty fantastic. The first was with a less-active who is struggling with drinking. He was baptized about a year and a half ago, but is struggling with going back to church because of being judged by the members. We shared the story of Alma the younger in the Book of Mormon, and promised him that if people like Alma the younger (he went around literally trying to destroy the church) could be forgiven, he certainly could be as well. He agreed to meet with the bishop next week and start getting his life in order.
    • The second lesson was with a man named Miyagi San. He is an older man who loves pottery, music, and the missionaries. He has tons of deep questions that really have no answer. We taught on the Book of Mormon and how all his questions could really be solved through knowing that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. 
  • Zone Conference Revelation
    • I might have mentioned this in the past, but this round of zone conferenes, President Egan trained on PMA (positive mental attitude), Sister Egan trained on patience, and we trained on the importance and power of using the Book of Mormon in finding and teaching.
    • Throughout Sister Egan's training at the four zone conferences this transfer, I kept feeling prompted to write down my thoughts and study about patience. On the plane ride back last night, I wrote down all of my thoughts in my journal. I figured I'd share it.
Zone conference today! Honestly pretty fantastic. This was the fourth and final one for the transfer. Sister Egan's training on patient sank in a bit more than in the past trainings. Between that and the Sister Training Leader's training on confidence in the Lord, in your companion, and in yourself, I realized a few things:

Recently, I have been studying about the concept of "mastering my soul." Regarding being persecuted as a believer, Christ teaches in Luke 21:19, "In your patience posses ye your souls." President Uchtdorf of the First Presidency teaches us that another translation of the Greek text is "in your patience you win mastery of your souls." He further adds that "patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than the receiving that we grow the most."

I related this to myself in the conference. I listed some of my current "frustrations" with God's timings. (These I won't share here).

I then realized that President Uchtdorf's words apply to me now! It is in the WAITING that we often grow the most. I will ALWAYS have trails in my life. My "frustrations" now will be small compared to the trials in the the future with work and family. While yes, I need to do my part to overcome this challenges now, "mastering/possessing" my souls means to remain patient, charitable, and Christ-like in the midst of trails. No wonder we fast at least once a month!

Every bishop, father, mother, apostle, and virtually everyone else in the world have struggles. Jesus Christ himself endured all kinds of torment and pain. At one point during zone conference, one of the newer missionaries, Elder Spong, read from PMG that  humility is confidence in the Lord. Thus, mastering my soul means being humble enough to trust the Lord, and to be patient in his timing.

In a talk called "The Power of Self-Mastery" in an April 2000 conference talk, President Faust shared one of my favorite poems. "As a hopeless cripple, William Ernest Henley courageously looked beyond his outward physical condition to triumph in his heart and mind when he wrote 'Invictus:'

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud:
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed. …

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I know understand just a little more of how Alma and his people felt when amongst persecution from Amulon, they "did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" (Mosiah 24:15). The Lord did NOT take their burdens away at first. He simply "[eased] the burdens which [were] put on [their] shoulders" (Mosiah 24:14). It was AFTER they learned to submit to the Lord, when "so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage" (Mosiah 24:16).

Thus, while it's easier said than done, I realized that to find "joy" in life, I need to learn to enjoy the trials we have in life.

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
The lesson with the less-active in Okinawa! See above!

Video and Invitation for the Week
Look for a talk that looks interesting, the read/watch it kudasai :)

These videos also still rock!

Pictures for the Week.
Not many from this week. Just airport pics 

Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission
ケビン C. コルトン 長老

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