Monday, June 1, 2015

A Very Spiritual Week

I asked Alex about the big 8.5 earthquake that was off the coast of Tokyo Saturday. I know he's hours north of Tokyo so I didn't know if he felt it, but the news said it shook most of the island. This is what he said about that:

We had a very minor earthquake (so small you had to really pay attention to notice the movement underneath), but I don't know if that's what you're talking about. It felt like the feeling you get when you spin around for a while and your head is a little tipsy, but that was it up here. I'm glad that there wasn't too much bad stuff down in Tokyo.

Here are some other things he shared with me in my email.

I can't believe that it's the end of another school year. I've been graduated for an entire year, and yet, I've only been graduated for one year! Over here in Japan, School starts in April and goes until March, so they just recently started school again. They don't get a big chunk of time off for a summer vacation, but they have a lot more breaks spread out throughout the school year.

This week we had a very good Zone Conference on becoming consecrated missionaries. I won't say a lot about it here (I plan on talking about it in the mass email), but I do believe that the same principles apply to regular members as well. I would like to share a message about consecration though. 

To begin, I would like to reference to the story of the rich young ruler in the New Testament found in Mark 10. In verse 21 of that chapter, Jesus extends two invitations to the young man: "come...and follow me." The two invitations are similar, but slightly different, and I love the way that Bishop Caussé explained it. 

He said to envision a time when you were a young parent (this was given in an address to new mission presidents), and you are getting ready to go to church one Sunday morning. As you are about to leave you notice that one of your children is not there. After searching for him, you find him in his room playing with his toys. You stand in the doorway and say, "Son, come, it's time for church!" Your son looks at you, looks at his toys, and then looks back at you as if trying to decide within himself. He then gets up and takes the hand that you have extended to him as you say, "Thank you. Now, follow me."

The principle of coming is like the son who had to come to the parent. He has to give up his toys to come to the parent; in essence, he has to sacrifice. The principle of following includes sacrifice, but also means that you do as Christ would do, and go where he would go. It is not only a sacrifice of material things, or of habits, or even of family, but of the heart. That is what consecration is, and as Elder Neil A. Maxwell said, it “is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar.”
And here's his letter to everyone:

This week we had zone conference, and we talked about how to
consecrate ourselves to the Lord. I hope no one gets too mad at me for
this, but I would like to focus on my thoughts on what I've felt and
thought regarding this.

Really quickly though, I would like to say that this week's kanji is:
霊的 pronounced "ray-techy", and means spiritual.

I cannot come close to write all my thoughts and feelings about
consecration to the Lord, but I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will
bear testimony to you that as you consecrate yourself to Him, as you
follow Him and keep his commandments willingly, that you will find
happiness beyond your wildest dreams. Not only that, but it is the
only path to true happiness.

On the same line as that, I learn more and more each day that a
mission is more for the missionary than for anything else. Yes, it's
great to have others come closer to Christ; yes, my heart is filled
with joy every time I see, hear, or read about someone following
Christ more than they ever had in the past. If I myself didn't do what
I plead others to do, if I didn't--at that great last day that most
certainly will come--have the ability to stand clean before God and
his Son, it would have been a waste in my opinion. Not a waste of the
others' salvation, but of my own potential.

I have a year and a half left to not worry about taxes, schooling,
work, food, housing, clothing, or anything else temporal, to give my
all, my very being to the person who created me. If I do that, I have
been promised that I will be blessed for my sacrifices. I myself have
not experienced life after a mission, but through others' experiences,
and through the witness born to me by the Holy Ghost, I know that ALL
aspects of my life will prosper because of my service.

Blessings are great, and they are a motivation to to keep the
commandments, but ultimately the most important reason to do anything
is out of a love of God. As stated in the Book of Mosiah found in the
Book of Mormon (chapter 2), God gives us everything. He gives us our
lives; he gave us our bodies; he gives us our daily breath; everything
we have is because of him. We have everything in existence to be
thankful to God for, and when we remember him he blesses us more than
we can hold.

I am imperfect, but I know that God and Jesus Christ live, that Christ
died for our sins, that they love us and want us back. I know that God
is our Father who lives in heaven, and that just as any righteous
earthly parent, he wants to give his children everything--only he is
perfect and all truly belongs to him only. The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints is His church restored on earth once again
lovingly through His servant Joseph Smith. As you act, pray, read the
Bible and the Book of Mormon, and do what is right, I know that you
will find the answers you need in life.

I love you all, and pray for you every day. I leave you this my
testimony in Jesus' name.


Elder _______


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