Monday, March 28, 2016

March 21st, 2016: A Normal Week in Ogaki

I'll be honest outright and say that this week was a fairly uneventful
week. I don't have a whole lot to report on, seeing as the majority of
our time was spent trying to find more people to teach. Although not a
lot happened on the missionary side of things this week, something
even greater happened. This week, my testimony of this work was
strengthened. And that is what I would like to talk about this week.

Sometimes, being a missionary is hard. Especially a young missionary,
in a new area, with a companion that can be hard to relate with at
times, speaking an extremely difficult foreign language. This week was
no exception. In my mind so far, Ogaki has been a crucible for
personal growth. I have spent more hours on my knees in quiet
supplication here than I have in a long long time. You see, when
things get hard, there is ALWAYS someone willing to listen. Sometimes
we are stubborn. Sometimes we are prideful. Sometimes we think we can
do this thing called life on our own. I'll agree. You definitely can.
But oh is it hard. Believe me, I've been there. I've tried that way.
But I promise you right here and tight now, no matter where you are,
what situation you are in, what things you've done, or mistakes you've
made, GOD LISTENS. This week, I changed up my usual way of studying
and refocused on studying about Christ. Especially, these past couple
of days, I have been reading from Jesus The Christ by James E.
Talmage. I bear my testimony to all of you that Christ lives. That he
rose from the grave, and knows each of us personally. That he atoned
for all of our sins, and he knows EXACTLY how we feel. Even in the
darkest of places, he has gone below us in order to raise us up. I
would like to share a poem that was shared with me from a dear friend.


I had been in that hole for a very long time
In the dark and the damp, in the cold and the slime.
The shaft was above me; I could see it quite clear
But there's no way I ever could reach it from here.
Nor could I remember the world way up there
So I lost all my hope and gave in to despair.
I knew nothing but darkness, the floor, and the walls
Then off in the distance I heard someone call:
"Get up! Get ready! There's nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder."

This had never occurred to me-- had not crossed my mind.
But I started to stack all the stones I could find.
When I ran out of stones, then old sticks were my goal,
For one way or another I'd get out of that hole.
So I soon had a ladder that was sturdy and tall
And I thought, "I'll soon leave this place once and for all."
I climbed up my ladder. It was no easy chore,
For from lifting those boulders, my shoulders were sore.
I climbed on up the ladder, but soon had to stop
For my ladder stopped short-- some ten feet from the top.

I climbed back down my ladder and started to cry
I'd done all I could do. I gave my best try.
And in spite of my work, in this hole I must die.
And all I could do was to sit and think, "Why?"
Was my ladder too short? Or my hole much too deep
Then from way upon high came a voice, "Do not weep."
And then faith, hope, and love entered into my chest
As the voice said to me that I'd done my best.

He said, "You've worked very hard, and your labor's been rough,
But the ladder you've built is at last tall enough.
Do not despair. You have reason to hope.
Just climb up your ladder; I'll throw down my rope."
I climbed up the ladder, then climbed up the cord.
When I got to the top, there stood the Lord.
I couldn't be happier; my struggle was done.
I blinked in the brightness that came from the Son.

I fell to the ground, His feet did I kiss
I cried, "What can I do to repay thee for this?"
Then He looked all about Him. There were holes in the ground
They had people inside, and were seen all around
There were thousands of holes that were damp, dark, and deep
The the Lord turned to me and He said, "Feed my sheep."

Then He went on His way to help other lost souls,
And I got right to work, calling down to the holes:
"Get up! Get ready! There's nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder."

It now was my turn to spread the good word.
The most glorious message that man ever heard.
That there's one who is willing to save one and all
And we've got to be ready when He gives the call.
He'll pull us all out of the hole that we're in
And save all our souls from death and from sin.
So do not lose faith; there is reason to hope
Just build up your ladder; He'll throw down His rope.

I bear witness that Jesus of Nazareth was a perfect man who loved
those he taught perfectly. I bear witness that he suffered for us. I
bear witness that he was rejected by men, and was killed. I bear
witness that on the third day, he rose from the grave, and with every
fiber of my being testify that HE LIVES! I may not have been there,
but I know as if I were. He wants to help each and every one of us.
Let him in, and you can do anything. I testify of these things in His
holy name, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Passey/パシー長老

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