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, July 29, 2007

Rain Keeps Falling on my Head

In Japan, especially in the rural areas, they have a giant city-wide speaker system that’s like a national intercom type thing. It plays a song everyday at 5pm that signals it’s time for children to come home, and they also announce any weather warnings. Well, it seems nice - but they will also announce things like "strong winds" at two in the morning - which is maybe not the nicest thing. Anyway, the last week there has been all kind of warnings. Intercoms (like drive through speakers) are hard enough to understand in English - but throw it in Japanese and it takes a bit more brain power. I have come to learn the word for typhoon though, "taifuu" (yeah, like typhoon without the n for some reason), and they have been announcing that a lot.

So, we’ll be riding around talking to people - perfectly clear and hot day, and then all of the sudden, it will rain like someone pouring a bucket onto your head. Quite crazy. Saturday we had planned a barbeque with all of our Brazilian friends, and of course, at 2pm it rained. However, by 3pm, everything was dry and hot as ever. The Barbeque was fun, and we were able to meet lots of good people. I wore my Brazilian soccer jersey that I bought here, and that made me pretty popular too. They try so hard to speak English, it’s hilarious.

Our one really good friend, who we meet with, Kenji, is doing well. We watch the restoration movie with him and then asked him to pray. I don’t think he had prayed in many, many years - but after some explanation by a member, he tried. It was in Portuguese, but even I could tell it was a powerful and heartfelt prayer. The Holy Ghost was strongly present, and a definite feeling of love entered the room. It was a choice experience.

Lately I have been fascinated by the story of the three Hebrew children in Daniel chapter 3. Nebuchadnezzar (what a name) is a lot like Satan - the Prince of this world. The idol he set up are like the idols set up in our society today - money, cars, fame, perfect body, being better than others. The clamorous noise of "musick of all kinds," is not only the noise called music on the radio, but the thousands of advertisements we see each day. They all tell us "if you don’t do this, if you don’t buy this, if you don’t act this way, then you won’t be happy." Indeed, it seems that if we go against the mainstream of things, then we get thrown into a fiery furnace of adversity. When Satan sees that we want to follow God rather than him, I bet he makes our trials seven times harder as well.
But it is just so amazing the faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had. In verse 17 they day essentially `if it’s God’s will, He can save us from you, or the furnace, or anything.` And then in 18 we see true faith, `BUT IF NOT, we will still not give into you!` Wow, what faith. It didn’t matter if they died or lived; they were not going to give in to wickedness.
Well, of course, they get thrown in and another comes and saves them. A quote I like that I heard this morning - "If we follow God, and we die, we will come to Him. If we live, He will come to us." In the midst of trials, I don’t think we are ever alone if we are doing His will. He will come to us - perhaps through delegation and perhaps directly.
Then in 27 is where it caught my attention. "...upon [their] bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them." Not even the smell of fire was on them. Truly, if we trust in God, we can live IN the world, IN the fire of wickedness, but not be OF the world, with not even then smell of wickedness.

I really thought that story - applied to today - carried a lot of meaning. It helped me a bit. Truly, psalms 34:19 is true - "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all."

For me, at first, that promise is a little unsettling. I’m promised that even if I do everything right - it’s going to be hard. Well, I don’t do everything right, and it’s still hard. But as you and I try, He’ll help. Our faith isn’t perfect, but it is completed by the Finisher of our faith. I’m thankful He endured everything and provided the way for you and me. That we can recognize how close He is at all times, is my prayer.


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


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