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)