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)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Some Rough Spots

Hello from overseas on the coast of Japan!

So there is a lot of Buddhism here. A real lot. And this week it has been kind of a trial. Well, it always is, but especially this week.

So one of our good, formerly progressing investigators said very firmly this week in a lesson that she will not be baptized nor join our church. She is Buddhist and her family always has been and always will be. (Well, excpet her husband is a Mormon, but anyway...) She said that all religions are good, and they are all right, but just her`s is more right. I don`t think she actually does anything except clap her hands in front of shrines, but oh well. So that was a little hard.

We have been knocking on a lot of doors lately. LOTS. And it`s all the same thing - sorry, we`re Japanese and therefore Buddhist. Nevertheless, Elder Seely and I are getting pretty good at pursuing the conversation and are teaching about one in four people we talk to. We`re pretty happy about that ratio.

FInally, we went to this smaller part of our area and actually talked to a Buddhist monk, or priest, or however it translates into English. He was perhaps the nicest man I have talked to in Japan. He had met missionaries before and had actually read the enire Book of Mormon as well. We asked him what his beliefs were and his answer was chilling. It was so close - even using the same words for most doctrine - to everything we taught except for the restoration, modern prophets, and a living Christ. I guess I know now what the difference we have to offer is.

So lots of Buddhism and philosophies of man. There is this strong cult-Buddhism that we run into all the time called Soka Gakkai. We were given tract materials even the other day.

So by Sunday, I was pretty exhausted by combating of the philosophies of men with the truth of God. I felt very much like Paul in Athens, preaching on Mars` hill about the Unknown God. That`s tireing stuff!

However, something happened Sunday that I will not soon forget. After church every fourth week, we have a missionary ward meeting that is run by the missionaries and ward mission leader. This week, we decided to show the movie from the Salt Lake Visitors` Center called "Testaments" or "Akashi" in Japanese. It just barely became available, and no one had seen it. We borrowed a projector from the Kanazawa steak center and set it up very nicely.

"Testaments" is a very, very powerful movie. Everyone in the room shed tears, Elder Seely and I included (when you cry druing a Japanese movie, that`s powerful). Then, after the movie, we played music just like at the Visitors` center and passed around a piece of paper. It asked what they felt during the movie and then who of their friends they would want to have those same feelings. Many, many names were written. Probably around 15 or 20. We will now work with the members on how to share the Joy of Christ with them.

Reinvigorated, we press forward. All of our investigators are busy or Buddhist, so we need to find some more. It`s fun though.

Mostly, as never before am i coming to understand the Gospel. In a small way, I think I know how those first apostles felt preaching to those who had hardly heard of Christ. Religion is a set of doctrine, it`s useful and real. It doesn`t just matter on Sunday, but rather it matters most the other six days.

I feel like we, as Christ`s disciples, will never be able to beat others in philisophical debates. Their teachings are probably always better. But we have the truth, and the Spirit, and that`s all that matters.

I love my Savior and am so thankful that not only has he redeemed me but allowed my the chance to feed His sheep. The Gospel`t true, and what a joy it is to share.

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


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