It's also hard having to shift gears from teaching Americans who have Christian backgrounds, to Japanese people who know close to nothing about Jesus Christ. Both groups have their own merits though: Americans are easy to connect to because we have a common love for Jesus Christ, but sometimes are hard because without prompting, they say things like "I was born a Methodist, was raised Methodist, and will die a Methodist" because they think that we're trying to seduce them to turn on their own religion. And then they get nervous and run away if we say something like "the Book of Mormon also talks about Jesus Christ!"
Japanese people are nice to talk to because everything is so new. They're accepting and curious about it all. The hard part of it is "I don't really know how religion will fit into my life..." BUT MY FRIEND. IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR SOUUUULLL
Since the NuSkin conference ended, the square has been pretty dead. At one point during the week I looked around the North Visitor's Center and realized that literally every patron was with a pair of sister missionaries. There was no spare guest for us to talk to. It's a hard knock life.
However, the miracles still don't cease! We met a man from New York who had just finished a tour from another set of missionaries, and he says to us "I came to Utah to learn about retirement investment and maybe a little bit about Mormon history. But no! I've learned all about Jesus Christ. I've been enlightened and uplifted. And I know that the reason you're all happy isn't because of what's in the waters in Utah. It's because you have the true gospel of Jesus Christ!" He's going to church next Sunday and told us in his New York accent, "I'm quitting cwoffee tomorrow! Idontknowhowiwillgetmydailyboostofenergy BUT I WILL FIGURE IT OUT."
Miracle #2: Yesterday we took an online chat and this guy wanted us to find the local missionaries for him. This magnificent boy knew that this was the truth and said that he loved the feeling he got when he read the Book of Mormon (does it get any more golden than this?) When he sent us his address, Sister Burgoyne almost flew out of her seat; this guy lives TEN MINUTES from her home in Pennsylvania. What a miracle that we just happened to be the missionaries that took this chat! Sister Burgoyne was so excited from all the cool things that happened (this was but one of many miracles that night) that she ran all the way home (I had to run with her). "I HAVE TO BURN OFF THIS ENERGY SO I CAN GO TO SLEEP TONIGHT!"
Temple Square sisters have Relief Society on Thursday mornings since we don't have a proper ward to go to. Sister Burgoyne and I taught the lesson yesterday. You Provo ward friends are probably laughing right now. I literally. never. escape. this calling. But you know what? That's okay; our lesson was awesome. It was about the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, and I learned a lot. From the Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith:
"Joseph Smith … was alone in the first vision, alone when Moroni brought the message to him, alone when he received the plates; but after that he was not alone. The Lord called other witnesses. Grandmother Smith [Joseph Smith’s mother, Lucy Mack Smith] in her history says that the Prophet came home weeping for joy after the witnesses had beheld the plates under the direction of an angel of God, because, he said, “The load has been lifted and I am no longer alone.”
God never expects us to carry any burden alone. I think we especially forget that when it has to do with spiritual/church things. We work so hard to fulfill our callings. We sacrifice time and energy to make sure that everyone in church gets visited. We make ourselves martyrs when we chastise people around us that aren't as obedient as they should be. Sometimes we forget that we can share that burden with others. God has given us friends, families, church congregations, leaders... Who the heck are we to think that we can take all these challenges alone, and reap in its rewards alone? If we feel like we are the only ones lifting the weight of fulfilling God's commandments, we're probably doing something wrong. That's something that's helped me understand why missionaries are in pairs, but more importantly its something I hope I remember in the future when I'm in a church calling and feel like I'm the only one doing the work. I've never been responsible enough of a person to know what that's like, but regardless I pray that I will never become as self righteous as that.
Thanks to all you lovely people who are writing me. I love you still even if I don't respond.
Here is a picture of the most organized group picture I've ever seen. 57 Taiwanese NuSkin people took around 2 minutes to line up, snap a pic, and then disperse again.