maandag 2 maart 2015

How many? In Tokushima

Hello, family!
It has been a very good week! We've had Zone Conference and our mission president was there! This was my favorite zoneconference so far! I cannot stress enough on the fact that every single Zone Conference or "taikai" has answered most if not all of my personal concerns and questions. With every taikai that has come and gone, I've begun to realize more and more that the things discussed in those meetings are revelation from God, given to us through our leaders.
On that note, I'd like to talk about another amazing experience I've had last week concerning revelation. Each area in the Japan Kobe Mission has a "sheep number". This special number represents the amount of people in the area who are ready to receive the Gospel, be baptised and endure to the end. But this number isn't isn't just a randomly guessed number -- we believe that it can only be found through revelation of God.
 
With the baptism of the Tokushima Sisters' investigator recently, our sheepnumber was brought down by one once again. However, the number went from 1 to 0. That meant that we had to figure out the new sheepnumber for our area. We made an appointment for all six of us to gather at church and find out what to do next. 
 
We all knew that it would require spiritual unity and divine guidance in order for us to uncover the number. So we started off by singing a hymn, praying together and sharing our past experiences concerning revelation and seeing the Lord's hand in our work in order to invite the spirit. As we all shared experiences, we all felt the presence of the spirit and felt like we were ready to receive some revelation! We all received a small sheet of paper to write down the number we felt impressed to. We all kneeled down and reached out in prayer to our Father individually. As I was wrestling in the spirit, focussing on connecting with God and trying to deliver my will unto Him, I could vaguely see numbers in my mind's eye. It wasn't really clear, but there was definitely something. Trying to interpret those numbers, I ended my prayer and wrote it down. I felt good about it. When everyone was done, we all looked at each other anxiously; the air was tense. We all revealed our numbers and... we were all over the place. No matching numbers at all. 
 
Our District Leader told us all the we didn't need to worry, as revelation comes little by little. I also thought by myself that at that point and time, I wasn't ready to receive direct revelation from God and I needed more time to spiritually prepare myself -- I decided to personally fast and pray. We made another appointment to meet up again and we were all encouraged to receive revelation as companionships and bring our numbers to the meeting. As our meeting ended, we all went our ways and went back to following our sheduled plans for that day. As we were out working, I noticed that I was very fatigued. It couldn't have been because of fasting, because I wasn't hungry at all. I turned to my companion and found out he was also exhausted. Apparently, we both used up a lot of "spiritual stamina" during the wrestle we had with the Lord. When I realized that, I came to grasp the magnitude of what we were doing and was reminded of the veracity of spiritual matter -- God really does exist and so does the Spirit. 
 
Fast forward to the next day, during our morning-study hours. Me and my companion had planned to use one hour in that morning to once again try to find out the new number. First try: miss, but we were close: both in the forties. Second try: miss, but our numbers got closer. Third try: our numbers were 1 apart! Fourth try: we got it. As we both found the number 46, we both felt joy and peace. 
 
We brought our number with us to the meeting that day. As we all gathered in the same room, we started revealing our companionship's numbers. We turned around our sheets of paper and... miss! We all had different numbers... 38... 42... 46. But they were really close! We felt like we were almost there!! Before we tried to do it for one last time that day, one of the missionaries suddenly said "...Forty-three." We all looked at at him, surprised; where did that come from? He said he didn't know and he felt a little strange for suddenly thinking about that number. In any case, we all got down on our knees again. This time when I was trying to identify this mysterious number, I couldn't stop thinking about the number 43. It just felt... right. As I couldn't see anything else, I wrote it down. I didn't know what to expect. I was actually tired -- expecting we would miss again and I'd have to try once more. But then! We all revealed our numbers and they were the exact same number. We were all surprised and really happy! We found the number! We found the number!!
Right now, there are 43 sheep in Tokushima.
God speaks.
 
I love you all. I hope you are all aware of the presence of your Father in Heaven. He is really there and He is watching over you.
 
Stay strong,
~サントス長老
(P.S.: Transfer calls came in. I'm moving to Otsu! Farewell, Tokushima. I will miss you!!)



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