Monday, December 23, 2013

The Birds, Cooking, and Baptism

Hey everyone!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!! I hope everyone is doing well! This week was a very interesting with a couple funny/interesting stories.  Btw it is finally beginning to get very cold here, but I can never seem to resist wearing just a sweater over my white shirts.  I never wore sweaters before my mission, but for some reason I am in love with them here :D Anyways the other day, we saw one giant crow just chilling there on the power lines and thought it was kind fumy cuz how big he was and it was the first one I had seen in Japan. Well the next morning we went out for our run and when we walked outside of our apartment there were hundreds of them sitting and flying. It was super scary, cuz it reminded me of that really old movie with the thousands of birds that attack all the people in the town. I can't remember what it was called, but it was black and white.  Wednesday our zone had its Christmas meeting/get together and it was really fun. The Japanese ladies even tried to cook an American Christmas dinner. It was super nice of them; I just miss real American food though.  Then on Thursday, me and my companion went and did housing in the pouring rain for the first of what I am sure will be many times.  It was fun, but unfortunately we had no success. Since we have been here there has only been one Nihonjin that has taken the time to listen to us and that was the catholic guy I think I told you about a while ago.  So that same night Elder Benzon who is our district leader cooked dinner for us (he had never before cooked for us). He had said he was bad at cooking, but the next morning all of us were way sick, maybe with food poisoning :D but we were in our futons all day and man futons are not as comfortable as I thought they were.  Then comes the most exciting news, I got to see my first baptism in Japan.  He was an investigator of a part member family that the other companionship in our apartment inherited as an investigator when the other missionaries left. It was such an amazing experience and I can't wait until I get to see one of my investigators get baptized. 2 Nephi 19:6 and 22:2 These two verses are very special to me especially during this Christmas season.  I love remembering that Christ is the means by which I receive salvation and happiness in my love.  The reason he was born was to provide a way that we might return to our loving Heavenly Father.  What a comforting thought that is to me.  Well I love all of you and I hope you enjoy this wonderful Christmas season !!!! 愛していますよ。
     Elder Bedard     ベダード長老

Friday, December 20, 2013

From the Greatest Doubt to Exceeding Faith

Hey everyone! How are you all doing? This week was a pretty good week for me-at least it was quite enjoyable and actually went by really fast.  Hey guess what it is almost Christmas!! I was reminded yesterday by a sister at church that American Christmas is a lot better than Japanese Christmas, and it is so very true so enjoy it. I am jealous of you guys!!  The Christmas Spirit is just nearly the same as I have experienced it before, and I know part of the reason is because most of these people don't know the true meaning of Christmas, and what a joy it brings me that I have the opportunity to share that with them.  However, yesterday, we were setting up for the Christmas part and I saw Jose (a convert of about a year) dressed up in the ward Santa Costume.  The costume is essentially one of those blow up sumo outfits except for red and white with a big belt :D it is quite amusing.  Last Tuesday I went on my first kokan (companion exchange), and it was actually really fun because I got to go with Elder Emery from my home ward. It felt like we were just back at home hanging out almost, but then at the same time we were talking to Japanese people about the gospel so way different.  That same day, we found some dishes just chilling in the trash on the side of the road so we took them because they were way nice and we don't have very many bowls in our apartment.  You can find so many cool things in the recycle bins/ trash areas around the different towns.  It is not at all like the American trash system. I will have to send some pictures sometime because it is hard to explain.  Anyways, this week I extended my first baptismal commitment, and it actually went pretty well.  The wife and husband are catholic and were already baptized, but the wife I can tell understands that her baptism was different than Christ's. Both of them said they were going to study more, and I keep them all my prayers.  They are probably my investigators with the most progress, so I am so very excited for them.  Speaking of investigators I have a couple of a Filipino woman (who speaks more English than Japanese so that is nice), and a Bolivian man that we are teaching right now.  Not a single Japanese person :D Japanese people are very busy and very work oriented, but nonetheless we keep talking to as many people as we can.  I just think it is funny that 3 out of my 4 investigators speak Spanish, and Lis got called to a Spanish speaking mission where as I got called to a Japanese speaking mission. Sounds like she needs to learn Spanish and then come help me out.  As a result of my Spanish speaking investigators not knowing a lot of Japanese, especially the more religious vocabulary, I have learned a little bit of Spanish :)  Did I mention that I teach English classes once or twice a week?  The classes are probably one of the funnest things I do every week. They're with Japanese people who struggle with pronouncing some sounds but are very determined and dedicated.  I enjoy teaching English so much, and they actually teach me a little bit of Japanese sometimes too.  So the other day, I was really down, because I had not been able to understand or speak Japanese as well as I thought I should, and I actually got to the point where I was wondering if I would be able to do this, to actually get to the point where I could speak Japanese.  I mean I know I am actually pretty decent for how long I have been out here, but all of us have weak moments and this was one of mine in which I was just really frustrated and began doubting. But as the greatest doubt entered my mind I read something that brought about the greatest hope in me: "with exceeding faith to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren." - 2 Nephi 3:24 I love the whole scripture and it is actually a prophecy about Joseph Smith, but God knows us and he knows our needs. I know he is always there for us-we just have to be doing the things we know we need to be doing.  I received great comfort in time of need and God gives that same comfort to everyone if they will seek him in their life.  I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that God is our Loving Heavenly Father, and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that through Christ we can one day return home to live with him.  I love you all and I hope you have and amazing Christmas.

-Love Elder Bedard

From Lis: I know that all of our letters and emails (scroll down for addresses) to Abe help give him the strength to continue on as well. The Lord is reaching out to Abe through each of us if only we take the time to act as a tool for Him. Thanks for spreading the Christmas cheer across the world-even as far as Japan!
(Abe sent images that I will try to convert and upload tomorrow)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christ in Christmas

Hey everyone!
     Well first off, I wish I could send you some pictures, but it is just not working. We might have to wait until I leave this area, which won't be until after my third transfer at least :(  However, they will come as do all things with time.  Anyways, I am excited that it is finally Christmas time, but they don't really do a lot to celebrate here in Japan because very few people know about Christ. Nonetheless, a lot of people are celebrating either barbecue they aren't from Japan, or have heard about how big it is in America.  Anyways, I love it when I am walking through the city and hear a random American Christmas song; that just makes me happy inside.  My favorite thing about Christmas in Japan though is that it provides a lot of dendo (missionary work) opportunities either through service or telling someone why we celebrate Christmas.  My ward is having a Christmas party on the 21st here and I am super excited because our district's investigators/friends, members' friends, and all the many other people we have invited hopefully will come.  We will be able to meet a lot of people and build relationships, and teach about Jesus Christ and his birth. I just know that a lot of good things are going to happen as a result of the party. I don't think I have ever been more excited for a ward party :D I wish I could be back with family and friends during this amazing Christmas season, but I know that right now I am called to bring the people of Japan closer to Christ :)  Well, my first transfer is half way over, and we got some news the other day: as apposed to just the 4 elders we have in the Inuyama area, we are going to get some sisters next transfer!  Sisters are really pretty key in bringing success to the area, and I know that they will be such a blessing to everyone here.  I was reading in 1st Nephi 20 the other day and I found some really cool scriptures. Verse 10 and verse 18: We have the opportunity to be refined and changed into the people God needs us to be. The Gospel is a great refiners fire, and through that we can develop righteousness as vast as the ocean, and receive ever flowing piece from the comfort of the atonement. But something important to remember is that another one of the refiner's fire that changes us is the trials and events we go through; we can grow and learn for everything we do, and that is what the Lords hopes to see.  The tricky part is trying to always remember to learn from every situation, and then changing to be more like Christ as a result.  Well I love you all so much and I miss you.  I will say it next week too, but for now MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! 

     Elder Bedard

P.S. Anything you send to me needs to be sent to the mission home and then it gets sent to me thanks I love you guys!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Moto hanashi!

Hi everyone! This week was awesome, and I'm really beginning to love being here in Japan, like a ton!  I read all of the emails I got this past week and it makes me miss home a lot, but I then remember that I am in Japan, the place, I have always wanted to go, and better yet, I get to preach the restored Gospel to the people of Japan!  I am super excited about Lis getting her mission call to the Chile Santiago South Mission!  What a truly amazing experience that will be! We will both get to be serving our missions at the same time!  Btw, sorry there are not going to be pictures for a while because the computer we use at the church doesn't read thumb drives. Well it probably does, but we can't figure out how to fix it.  Well, I mentioned before how hard it was to find people to teach; it still is :D {i figured out how to do that smiley face, but not parentheses}  However, we finally made contact with a former investigator, and actually found one new one. The new ones name is Henri and is a Bolivian man, who has gone to Christian churches a lot in his life, but never been baptized. He doesn't speak Japanese well, and we can't speak Spanish or Portuguese, so it is very hard to communicate, but he liked our message when we talked to him last Friday, and he actually just called, and wants to meet up again today. He said, "moto hanashi" "more talk" We are super excited!  For thanksgiving, we had coconut fried shrimp and some good old Coke :D Btw, teaching English to these Japanese people during our Eikaiwa class each week is super duper hilarious and fun. Japanese people love American stuff, and it is just so fun being around them. But fun story. Earlier today we were walking on the street, and saw an American , nothing was said except hey how are ya then we walked on, but I haven't stopped smiling since then. I now realize how much I miss America :D It was just so nice to be able to greet someone in English that wasn't a missionary.  Although I definitely love Japan. I went to a place called Sushiro for the first time to eat the other day, and wow that is the funnest restaurant and best Sushi I have ever eaten by far. Moroni 10:25 end of the verse,  Moroni 9:6 has encouraged me a lot. Well I love you all I miss you all. Got to run, bye.
Elder Bedard

From Lis: Thanks for supporting Abe so much ya'll! I just want you to know that support from home really does help the missionaries teach abroad. Keep it up :D