Alex Fuller's Mission to Japan

Alex at MTC From June 2006 to June 2008, Alex is serving
a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints in the Japan Tokyo
South and Japan Nagoya Missions.
(click pic to enlarge)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Week of Trials and Deliverance

"The tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance"

This week we listened to David Bednar`s talk on the tender mercies of the Lord. They are real, for I have felt them as privately and powerfully as any other experience in my life. To some, they may be coincidences, but to those who recognize them, they are signs from our loving Heavenly Father assuring us that He knows and loves us.

One week ago, we had our final interviews with President Tucker before he transfers to preside over the Kobe mission. He talked with me and dropped rather heavy hints that I would indeed be staying in Nagoya. For this I am quite excited. Out in the mountains of Japan is where I think my real missionary experiences lie. As fun as the city is, those who are hidden in far away mountains would be even more fun to get to know. Of course Nagoya is a big city too, so who knows what happens. A lot of the people in the mission are worried about what mission they`ll be put in, but I am at peace, knowing the Lord`s will is being done.

Unfortunately, while traveling home from Fujieda, one of the worst things ever happened...I lost my scriptures. I have called the lost&found everyday since, but nothing yet. It had some new nametags as well as a flier with our church information on it, so were someone to find them, they could certainly return them. Mostly I am saddened because the many, many notes and marks I have made to them over the last 9 months of intesely studying them, are all gone. Maybe it's just a sign that I really need to start over and go through them all intensly once again. I`m working with the mission home to acquire more, so hopefully things will work out.

Most of all, I just feel like my most precious possession ever was lost. Having my bike break was a small problem that worried me, but losing my scriptures almost made me sick. I`ve prayed fervently, but sometimes His will is done for reasons which I don`t understand. However, as I prayed, I came to the realization that though I felt alone without the word of God, the word of God was still there and still available, I just need another copy. How grateful I am for the inspired words of prophets which we can read. Sometimes we need to lose something to see how much we appreciate it.

I got a new bike frame sent to me from the mission home fo a missionary that returned. It looks good, and we`ll see today if everything works. I am glad that my prayers over that problem have been solved.

Last night, for Valentine`s, we decided to try something new. There are several Christian churches in the area, and they usually offer free Bible classes on Wednesday night. So, seeing that we would love to make friends with those who already read the Bible, and see if they desire more light and truth, we decided to attend. We just wanted to listen, and certainly not arouse any arguments, but see what they preach in Japan.

After waiting around for a while, not seeing anyone, we finally kncocked on a door that seemed to be occupied. The minister came and somewhat surprised greeted us in English. That`s always fun. He asked if we were Latter-Day saints, and asked a few questions about how long we are here in Japan for. He remarked he had visited Utah and knew a few things about Joseph Smith. We asked if we could join in and studying the Bible together, to which he replied that we can not. He then asked us to leave.

This surprised me. Christianity has a very, very bad reputation here in Japan, and I am beginning to see why -- no one practices it. Even if we were Pharisees, I think Christ would still talk to us. Very interesting.

There is a phrase in Japanese that roughly translated means "actions speak louder than words" It`s "Fugenjikko." Indeed they truly do.

So to this point, I really haven`t touched the tender mercies of the Lord which I have felt this week. They truly were many, delivering me from the problems and trials. As I rode home last night, I shed a tear to realize how Christ must have felt when so many didn`t listen to him. So many truned away. They esteemed him as a thing of naught. How glad I am for Him that He did not shrink. Even in those darkest hours in Gethsemane and at Calvary, He pressed on.

True experience teaches us the hidden, deeper levels which the scriptures contain.

Perhaps most special of all, was a lesson we taught this last monday. A former Bishop, Brother Satake, has asked that we teach his 93-year-old father about our church. The four of us gathered together and discussed the plan of salvation. This humble, cheerful, and wise-old man told us about the two wives he has had. The first dies long ago, and the current one is copletely dehabilitated living in a nursing home.

As we bore witness and testimony that he could, and will, someday soon, stand resurrected and perfected with his wife and family, past and present, in a state of glory and happiness, he began to cry. As the truth and happiness of Christ`s gospel entered in his heart, and as the Spirit bore witness that what we were saying was indeed true, tears fell and hope ignited.

It was difficult for all of us to keep back tears as the Spirit filled our souls. God loves us. Everything is for our good. As my favorite hymn reads:
Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

Some things in life are lost. Some times in life are hard. The Atonement makes up for it. The only thing we have to fear is sin. Terrorists and murders, theifs and liars, can do nothing that Christ`s atonement can not restore. If we live the gospel, we will be upheld.
To this I know and add my witness. Look for the tender mercies in your life. There is no greater present and no greater joy.

With love,
Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Tokyo South Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


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