Saturday, December 17, 2016

Week 24: December 12, 2016

This week, we were able to go to the visitor center in Oakland. We parked at another elders' apartment and we all caught a ride together. It is truly an amazing spiritual experience for anyone; member, missionary, investigator, etc. The temple grounds were decorated beautifully with Christmas lights. It was overall a great experience (Not to mention we got to stop by Chik-fil-a on the way back) 

The next day, I realized I did not know where my bag was. For those of you who know me, you'd know I have a talent for losing things. I kept looking for it that day. I went back to the other elders'apartment. Suddenly, I flashbacked to the previous night. When we got back to the apartment, I chastised the others because their doors on their side of the car were slightly ajar. I thought they had left them open. Everything clicked as we pulled up and saw my belongings scattered in the rain. Someone had broken into the car and stolen my bag. Luckily, my scriptures were left behind along with my pocket hymn book. They were mostly undamaged. After drying them out, they were good as new(ish). Sadly, my camera was in there and was stolen. Thankfully, I've got my pictures on the Google drive. I'm thankful that it wasn't any worse. Just the day before, I had felt prompted to clear out my bag of most of its contents. 

The Lord has preserved a lot for me. Although I lost my camera, I know that is something that can be replaced. One thing that was stolen was a big pack of pass along cards. We made it a goal to pass them all out by the end of the week. After much prayer and effort, it got taken along with my bag. Hopefully they'll spark a change in someone's life. 

On the bright side, we were able to add a new investigator this week. She is the wife of our investigator of years and years. She's never been interested and generally ignored us when we were over. However, after feeling prompted to speak to her one day, she expressed her curiosity about our church and wanted to know more. After meeting with her, she vowed to read the entire Book of Mormon. What a blessing. 

I know the Lord has blessed us here. He is truly watching over us, especially times of tribulation such as this. I know He lives and loves us. Mele Kalikimaka to you all!

Week 23: December 5, 2016

In the Antioch 1st and 2nd area, things are looking great! As of right now, we've got about 34 investigators that we are actively meeting with between the two wards. We are looking to set at least 3 more baptismal dates this upcoming week. It is a very exciting time. There is always something to do and believe me, we are always doing SOMETHING. 

One thing that we had been lacking in recently, however, is finding. It has been a while since we have found a new investigator. We made it a goal last week to try to find new investigators. Sadly, we hardly had time to tract and we didn't really receive any referrals for a while. The time that we did have to tract, we didn't find anyone who was willing to hear of our message. One night, when we came home, we got a call from the Spanish Elders in our area. They said they had found a really solid investigator who had taken the lesson with them and they finished the call by saying, " go ahead and count yourselves a new investigator for today!" What a blessing and miracle. 

Later on, we got another referral from some other missionaries who was super solid and wants to meet very soon! 

I've been able to learn that the Lord will answers our prayers sometimes in ways we won't expect. (most times). If we remain faithful and diligent, we will receive blessings in due time.We were also able to go to the visitor's center out in Oakland with one of our investigators. She really enjoyed it and we watched Scrooge! A musical based off of "A Christmas Carol". It was great to see a live orchestra and performance again. Really takes me back.

We are really pushing to help our investigators progress in the gospel towards our loving Heavenly Father and making covenants such as baptism. Please continue to keep them and us in your prayers. Thank you all for your love and support! 

Until next week,-Elder Kaitoku 

Week 22: November 28, 2016

For Thanksgiving, we ate at a member's home. Well, we ate at several members' homes. Our fridge is full and our spirits were high. We were able to have a game of touch football with the missionaries in the zone. We didn't keep score (but if we did, we won by 4 know, if we were keeping score). 

This week, we made it a point to get to know our newly added area of Antioch 1st. It's a bit of a struggle because the two wards we are a part of meet at separate buildings and their times overlap one another. Luckily, we have a car. Elder Kaitoku may be getting his license soon (hopefully) so keep off the streets of California! Watch out! 

One member of the ward has a son that just recently came back to church after 10 years or so of being away. It was getting pretty late one evening and Elder Cobabe suggested we try to visit with him. I was hesitant at first because it was getting late and I wasn't sure if they would be awake or home. We decided to stop by anyway. Not only did we find him home, but we were able to stop and talk and get to know him a lot better. We shared a message with him and he said it was something that really helped him with what he was going through at that exact moment. Missionary work isn't only bringing new people to the fold, but bringing back those that have left.
We are really building a wonderful friendship with him. Between Elder Cobabe and I, we have a lot in common with him.
I can't believe December is right around the corner! Crazy how fast time flies! Christmas will be 6 months! I look forward to making the most of every day I have here. I love you all!
-Elder Kaitoku

Week 21: November 21, 2016

This week was a week of trials of faith. One of our baptisms got cancelled an hour before it was set to begin. While we were distraught, we recognized that it is all in the Lord's time and way. We will be able to continue to meet with this investigator. She is still very interested and wants to learn more but she and her parents brought up that they felt that she needed to know more and study more before committing. We will continue to look forward with faith and put our trust in the Lord. I know that one day, she will be baptized and come unto the fold, even if I am not here to see it. 

Additionally, last week Monday, we got a call from our Mission President that said that he would like us to cover two areas now. While this added a bit of stress, it has also taught us to plan more effectively and efficiently where we go and what we do. I think back to a service project we did with a member. We had to dig up and cut back roots that had overgrown his sprinkler system. It was heavy labor and very taxing. It took us nearly 3 days to complete it all. Just when we thought we fixed it all, we found another leak. What stood out to me was that through all of this frustration, this member kept saying, "I know Heavenly Father wants me to learn something from this, there's something to be learned here, He wants me to learn something." I've been thinking this also. 

I encourage you all to look towards your trials and tribulations with this attitude. Just as Proverbs 3:13 says, "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." I promise that as you seek for the lesson that your Heavenly Father is trying to teach you, you will be able to endure through these challenges and gain wisdom, understanding, and happiness. 

Additionally this week, we were able to attend a baptism in the Tongan ward. It reminded me so much of home. We sang a few songs while we waited. Afterwards, they took us all to a buffet and I got to eat SUSHI! I didn't realize how much I missed something as simple as sushi. Then we had a service project where we did crowd control at a Thanksgiving Parade in Brentwood. With all the bands and floats going by, it reminded me a lot of home and the parades that I was in. I have a few friends who are about to perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NY! Good luck to them!

Overall, this week had its ups and downs but that's how they go. I've learned that much like a roller-coaster's random ups and downs and turns make the ride interesting and fun, so too do the random ups and downs and turns make life fun and interesting. I love this place, I love the people, I love all of you. Until next week!

-Elder Kaitoku
PS Happy Thanksgiving!