Monday, March 23, 2020

Another Exodus: Get Ye Out Of The Japan (Week 46 in Japan)


We have a special email this week, so it will be in a special format: scripture language. Here we go!

I, Joshua, having been born of goodly parents, and having been taught in the ways of righteousness, was commanded of the Lord to leave my home and family in the third year of the reign of the Trump, that I might serve His children in the land of Sapporo. For the space of ten months, I labored diligently among the Nihonites, who dwelt in that land, and received many blessings and saw many miracles. Though at times my gaze shifted to the wonders of the world around me, I did always repent and keep my single to the work of the Lord.
And it came to pass, at the end of the third month of the fourth year, the Lord came unto the prophet in Utah, saying that His servants in the lands of Japan must speedily return to their respective homes. My brethren and sistren and I were exceedingly sorrowful, so that many of them watered their pillows with their tears in the night. Nevertheless, we took strength in our faith in the Lord and prepared ourselves that we might be ready to depart in the vessels that would be sent, filling our suitcases with our coats and our books and all manner of things that we desired to bring with us, such that they were filled near unto bursting, but they did not burst, for they were made to endure, and were tight like unto a dish. Yea, having all our belongings ready to depart, we await the call of the captain to return home.
I, Joshua, will soon depart from Sapporo, the land of the people I love. Though I have not been granted that I may see what the future holds for me, I know that the Lord will have use of me wherever He may send me to go.
And now, I write a few words unto the people who will receive this record. I would that ye would remember that God governs all things, both on the earth and in the heavens, and that no earthquakes, no plagues, no wars, yea, not any unhallowed thing can frustrate the plan that He prepared from the beginning of the world. Peace be unto thee, my brethren and sistren, and remember that God is God, and that He knows the thoughts of thine hearts, and thine trials, and thine sufferings, and He will not leave thou comfortless. With these few words, I leave you, in the name of our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Pic: Elder Kaga and I (I owe you lot a pic, so here you go)

Friday, March 20, 2020

Sherwood Chourou ~ Week 45 in Japan


I'm gonna be totally frank with everyone, I've got nothing to talk about this week. We're still in isolation, still working to the best of our ability, and still trying to figure out what to do. We did manage to get a new potential investigator with high prospects (in my opinion, at least), but it sounds like we won't be able to contact him for another month, by which time I may not even be here anymore.
However, I do have another scribbling of thoughts to share, so hopefully I'll have enough of those to hold out until I can get other stuff to share. Anyways, enjoy, stay healthy, and have a good week! Matta ne!


Week 45 Study Thoughts

The Law of Estates

God has made it clear to us that those who have bodies have power over those who don't. However, we weren't provided with much of an explanation why that is. After all, spirits have the ability to enter into a body and even manipulate the body they have possessed, as seen in the records of the Bible. Furthermore, when certain unrighteous individuals, ones which had bodies themselves, attempted to cast devils out of the afflicted, the devils turned and attacked them, resisting the power that they supposedly should have held. So what is the explanation for all this? What is the power that we who have bodies have over those who don't? If my interpretation is correct, I believe that it is simply legal power.
Imagine this parable for a moment: a number of individuals were brought to trial for not upholding the terms which were requisite for them to own their respective houses. The verdict of this case was that all of the accused were stripped of their homes and left to live on the streets for the rest of their lives, for they had not the money to purchase new ones. Bitter and desirous of a place to call home, some of these persons began to steal into the homes of others. In their greed, they ran the houses they snuck into like their own, eating the owner's food, using their appliances, even spending their money on occasion! Whenever the owner of a house detected one of these trespassers, some would try to drive them out on their own. In natural response, the evil person would fight back, even attempt to bind the owner and force them to do their bidding. However, there were yet other wiser persons who, upon detecting the trespassers, contacted the law enforcement as soon as they were able, testifying to their legal ownership of their house and demanding the banishment of their unwelcome guests. The law enforcement came, seized the evil persons, and cast them back out into the streets.
For those who weren't able to follow this example, the people who had their homes stripped from them represent the devil and his angels, whereas the rest of the homeowners represent all of us who have bodies, with the houses acting as symbols of our respective tabernacles. As the parable showed, there is no noteworthy difference in the physical strength of those who had bodies compared to those who didn't. In fact, on account of their desperation, those who hadn't were more likely to succeed in one-on-one struggles than those who had. However, those who had bodies had one trump card up their sleeves: the legal right to their property. Regardless of the strength of either individual, should one who owns a body call on the law, or Christ Himself, to have their intruders banished from their property, the intruders will be forced to leave. Now on the other hand, though not mentioned in the parable, should someone come to cast out a trespasser, but not as one having the authority of the law behind them, the trespasser would be able to resist and fight back just as they could with the owner of the house they were occupying.
So there is my understanding of things. I hope this was as enlightening for all of you as it was for me.

Sherwood Chourou ~ Week 44 in Japan


Sorry guys, we're still in self-isolation, so not much to report this week. I'll do what I can though.
As some of you may know, the missionaries is Korea were pulled out and reassigned new missions due to the Corona virus. There are currently no plans to do anything like that with the Japanese missions, so I'm probably going to be here through the whole ride!
This week, we managed to throw another video up on Facebook, so if any of you haven't seen it yet, you can find it on my Facebook page (please share it!). We hope we'll be able to keep posting a variety of videos each week, but artist's block applies to videos too, so no promises.
We managed to find a new friend during Phone Dendou (finding via calling old contacts on our phone), so we're excited about that! Wish us luck!
That's about all I've got for this week, news wise (sorry, no pics). I did have a couple thoughts during study that I'll be sending after this, so do enjoy those. Anyways, I hope everyone's staying safe and healthy back home, and have a good one! Matta ne!


Week 44 Study Thoughts

A Word on Wine
 The Lord has commanded His Latter Day Saints that they should not partake of strong drink, such as wine. It has likely been argued by a number of individuals that drinking wine is permissible because Christ himself drank it. Before you excuse yourself into alcoholism, I would like to share a few points as to potential reasons for why Christ drank wine and why we don't.
 0: Christ is the Son of God, and has the powers of heaven at His disposal. He exercised this power at one time in transmuting ordinary water into the best of wine. I don't think it would be entirely unreasonable to assume that any wine He drank or shared with others could have been similarly transformed. Now, as for why I'm mentioning this, I'd like the reader to consider the following idea: what would make the best wine the best? There's of course the simple answer of "it tastes the best", which is almost definitely an accurate answer in this case, but I think one less considered aspect would be the lack of intoxicating elements within the brew. Personally, I think any drink that doesn't give me hangover is significantly better than any that would, so in order for the wine to truly be the best, it would need to lack the alcohol normally present in wine. And if Christ could create non-alcoholic wine on one occasion, why not do it on all subsequent occasions where wine was used? If this is a correct guess, then Christ never really did drink alcoholic wine, thus resolving any arguments immediately. Naturally, however, this is merely a practically-baseless guess, and to use this as the sole explanation would be utter foolishness, therefore I shall provide other more factual arguments.
 1: Jesus lived in a time long before much of the technology we enjoy today, such as the cooling technology that would prevent grape juice from fermenting into wine. While this fact is normally used to support that Christ definitely drank wine, it does have one other aspect that goes relatively unnoticed: the fact that there was no water purification technology back then either. It is commonly understood that drinking unpurified water is dangerous to one's health, often in the form of water-borne diseases. Still water is almost certainly diseased, and it's not always guaranteed that river water is safe either, therefore there are only a select few ways to obtain natural drinkable water. With this in mind, we can pretty well assume that drinking water was a very scarce commodity in Christ's time. But people need water to live, so how did they survive? By drinking wine. While the fermented fruit of the vine isn't the healthiest of things to consume in it's own right, it is far safer than the diseases that other water sources may have contained. Therefore, Christ didn't drink wine because it was okay in general, but because there wasn't a better option in his time.
 2: Anyone who's read the majority of Christ's teachings know that He compared His blood to wine on many occasions, since they are both red liquids, and in such symbolism included it in the Sacrament. Nowadays, we use water instead. Some may be tempted to argue that water isn't a proper symbol of His blood, but this argument is entirely false. While Christ did often compare His blood to wine, He also compared it and Himself to water, or "living water" as he usually put it. Considering that blood is mostly composed of water and is required for us to live, using water as a symbol for His blood in the Sacrament is anything but improper. Additionally, as the Lord told Joseph Smith, substitutes may be used for the bread and wine as long as it is partaken with an eye single to His glory. Christ used wine in His time because of the visible symbolism, and we use water now on behalf of the metaphorical and scientific symbolism.
 3: "But Christ said it's okay then, so therefore it is okay now. But Christ is the same yesterday and forever, so the Sacrament can't be changed." If you hold to this sort of argument, I've got some news for you. We believe that Christ is the Jehovah of the Old Testament (and for ye who don't, for the purposes of this argument, please remember that God and Christ have the same objectives and Christ doesn't do anything God doesn't want Him to do) and that He was the one who gave the ancient Israelites the Law of Moses. We also believe that He fulfilled the Law and both commanded His disciples to cease certain practices of the law and "raise the bar" on some other standards therein. For example, He commanded in the Law of Moses that we shouldn't murder, and during His ministry added that we shouldn't get angry either. This was because the ancient Israelites weren't as prepared to follow the higher law as they were, while the disciples of Christ were more prepared. Therefore, if we in this time have proved that we can follow His commandments as far as His previous disciples did, could He not ask us to hold a Sacrament more in accordance to the higher law than was followed in His time? Of course He can, and He did, so we'd best follow that higher law as truly as we can.
 I hope that settles any concerns anyone has concerning Christ and the Word of Wisdom.

Sherwood Chourou ~ Week 43 in Japan

Konnichiwa, Mina-san!

I have a number of announcements for this week. First off, I'm not dead. The Japan Sapporo Mission and a number of others have their missionaries under self-isolation with respect to the Corona virus. This is not the same as quarantine, since we do not have the virus ourselves (we don't think, at least), and we are allowed to leave our apartments to go to the church for online dendou (missionary work) and to the store for shopping (as long as we wear special filter masks). Second, I'm no longer in Wakkanai. In fact, I'm back down in southern Hokkaido in a city named Muroran, which happens to be in the same district as Hakodate, my area from before Wakkanai! Third, to go with number 2, I am now companions with Elder Kaga, another Japanese companion. Something tells me that God's trying to make sure I become fluent in these two years, and it's working.
Due to our previously-established circumstances, there is not much in the way for us to do besides make videos and post things on social media to invite others to learn about the gospel, so I probably won't have much to say in these emails for an indeterminate amount of time. However, let the record show that we are doing all we can out here to be a light on a hill to those wandering in the darkness of these difficult times. I hope that everyone back home will join us in our efforts, so please, pray for the missionaries to be able to help God's children and that everyone will be able to heal and be healthy! You all stay healthy, too, and have a good week! Matta ne!

 - I don't got a lot in the way of pictures rn, but I had a crepe!

Sherwood Chourou - Week 38 in Japan

Konnichiwa! We are back to the slowish days once more. We've been dendoing and teaching plenty, but nothing outstanding has arisen ...